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"Master Sergeant Travis E. Watkins, H Company, 2nd Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division, earned the twelfth Medal of Honor of the Korean War (dated 8/31/50). When an overwhelming enemy force broke through and isolated thirty men of his unit, he moved about under the heavy fire, taking command, establishing a perimeter, and directing the repulse of continuous enemy assaults. When ammunition ran low, he went outside the perimeter to collect enemy weapons and ammunition, killing five of the enemy to accomplish this and being wounded in the process. At the critical point of a later enemy assault, he stood up in his foxhole to shoot down enemy grenadiers, receiving machine bullet wounds that paralyzed him from the waist down. When it became clear that his men must escape to friendly lines, he refused to be a hindrance to their evasion and insisted he be left in his position. Under his leadership, his small forced destroyed nearly 500 of the enemy before being forced to withdraw. Sergeant Watkins was never seen alive again."

M/Sgt. Watkins distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action against the enemy. When an overwhelming enemy force broke through and isolated 30 men of his unit, he took command, established a perimeter defense and directed action which repelled continuous, fanatical enemy assaults. With his group completely surrounded and cut off, he moved from foxhole to foxhole exposing himself to enemy fire, giving instructions and offering encouragement to his men. Later when the need for ammunition and grenades became critical he shot 2 enemy soldiers 50 yards outside the perimeter and went out alone for their ammunition and weapons. As he picked up their weapons he was attacked by 3 others and wounded. Returning their fire he killed all 3 and gathering up the weapons of the 5 enemy dead returned to his amazed comrades. During a later assault, 6 enemy soldiers gained a defiladed spot and began to throw grenades into the perimeter making it untenable. Realizing the desperate situation and disregarding his wound he rose from his foxhole to engage them with rifle fire. Although immediately hit by a burst from an enemy machine gun he continued to fire until he had killed the grenade throwers. With this threat eliminated he collapsed and despite being paralyzed from the waist down, encouraged his men to hold on. He refused all food, saving it for his comrades, and when it became apparent that help would not arrive in time to hold the position ordered his men to escape to friendly lines. Refusing evacuation as his hopeless condition would burden his comrades, he remained in his position and cheerfully wished them luck. Through his aggressive leadership and intrepid actions, this small force destroyed nearly 500 of the enemy before abandoning their position. M/Sgt. Watkins' sustained personal bravery and noble self-sacrifice reflect the highest glory upon himself and is in keeping with the esteemed traditions of the U.S. Army.[3]