Retired July 31, 1967.
Tarleton Harvin Watkins was born in Corpus Christi, Texas, in 1914. He enlisted in the Air Force in June 1938, as an aviation cadet at Kelly Field, Texas.
He served in Hawaii and North Africa during World War II, flying more than 120 combat missions as pilot of A-20 and P-40 aircraft. His combat record which accounted for three enemy aircraft destroyed in the air, merited the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with seven oak leaf clusters, and the Presidential Citation with oak leaf cluster.
His post-war service began with a tour in Bermuda where he served first as deputy commander, then as executive officer for Kindley Air Force Base. In July 1951 he was assigned to Germany as administrative assistant to the commander of the 1602nd Air Transport Wing. On Jan. 1, 1952, he became deputy wing commander, a position he held until August of that year when he was appointed commander of the 1708th Ferrying Group at Kelly Air Force Base, Texas.
He was named commander of the 1708th Ferrying Wing at Kelly in October 1955. Following a year at the National War College (Fort McNair, Washington, D.C.), General Watkins was named deputy for operations for the 322nd Air Division at Evreux-Fauville Air Base, France, in July 1957, and became deputy commander of that unit in January 1958. He assumed command of the 322nd in June 1959 and held that post until his assignment to Headquarters Ninth Air Force as Deputy for Operations in June 1961.
His promotion to brigadier general became effective April 1, 1961.