Retired Sep. 1, 1989.
Lieutenant General Claudius E. Watts III is comptroller of the Air Force, Office of the Secretary of the Air Force, Washington, D.C.
General Watts was born in 1936, in Bennettsville, S.C., and graduated from Cheraw (S.C.) High School. He received a bachelor of arts degree in political science from the The Citadel Military College of South Carolina in 1958, and attended the London School of Economics and Political Science as a Fulbright scholar. The general earned a master's degree in business administration from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business in 1967. He completed Squadron Officer School in 1962, Army Command and General Staff College in 1972, and National War College in 1978. He also completed the program for senior managers in government at Harvard University in 1983.
The general was commissioned through the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps program in July 1958 and then attended the London School of Economics and Political Science. Upon completing pilot training at Craig Air Force Base, Ala., in February 1960, he received his pilot wings and then remained at Craig for advanced training. In January 1961 he was assigned to the 17th Air Transport Squadron, Charleston Air Force Base, S.C., where he served as a C-124 pilot until September 1965, when he entered graduate school. From December 1967 to December 1968 he served as a pilot with the 12th Special Operations Squadron at Bien Hoa and Da Nang air bases, Republic of Vietnam.
Upon returning to the United States, he served as a tactical air intelligence officer, and then as chief of the Programs Division, Directorate of Plans and Programs, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence, Headquarters Tactical Air Command, Langley Air Force Base, Va. After graduating from the Army Command and General Staff College in June 1972, General Watts was assigned to the Directorate of Doctrine and Concepts, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans and Operations, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C. While there he served as a plans and programs officer, and as acting chief of the Coordinated Actions Plans Division.
He transferred to Andrews Air Force Base, Md., in July 1976 and served as chief of operations and training for the 89th Military Airlift Wing's 1402nd Military Airlift Squadron. After completing National War College in June 1978, General Watts became assistant deputy commander for operations and, later, commander of the 438th Military Airlift Group, McGuire Air Force Base, N.J. From July 1980 to March 1982 he served as commander of the 63rd Military Airlift Wing at Norton Air Force Base, Calif. The general then was assigned as assistant deputy chief of staff for plans at Headquarters Military Airlift Command, Scott Air Force Base, Ill. In October 1983 he became deputy chief of staff. From September 1984 to June 1985 he served as the director of budget at Air Force headquarters. General Watts then was assigned as senior military assistant to the deputy secretary of defense, Washington, D.C. He assumed his present duties in November 1986.
General Watts is also chairman of the board of the Army and Air Force Exchange Service; chairman of the finance and audit committee, Air Force Morale, Welfare and Recreation Board; chairman of finance committee, Air Force Aid Society; and a member of the board of commissioners, U.S. Soldiers and Airmen's Home.
The general is a command pilot with more than 7,000 flying hours. His military decorations and awards include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, Distinguished Flying Cross with two oak leaf clusters, Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Air Medal with 10 oak leaf clusters, Presidential Unit Citation, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, Air Force Organizational Excellence Award, Combat Readiness Medal, Antarctica Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Vietnam Service Medal with two service stars, Air Force Longevity Service Award Ribbon with six oak leaf clusters, Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon, Air Force Training Ribbon, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm, and Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.
He was promoted to lieutenant general Dec. 1, 1986, with same date of rank.