Staff Sergeant Lewis G. Watkins, of Seneca, South Carolina, was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously for heroism in action in Korea. He sacrificed his life to save the Marines under his command.
His parents received notification that their son had been awarded the Nation's highest decoration in a letter from Gen Lemuel C. Shepherd, Jr., Commandant of the Marine Corps.
On 7 October 1952, SSgt Watkins' platoon was assigned to retake an outpost from the enemy. Although wounded in the fight, he placed automatic fire on the enemy machine gun position holding up the assault. When an enemy grenade landed among his men, he shoved them aside, picked up the grenade, and attempted to throw it at the enemy. The grenade exploded in his hand and wounded him mortally.
Lewis George Watkins was born 6 June 1925 in Seneca, South Carolina, and graduated from Greenville (South Carolina) High School in 1949. He was a member of the Greenville Police Department when he enlisted in the Marine Corps on 12 September 1950. After training at Parris Island, South Carolina, he served at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, and Camp Pendleton, California, before going to Korea.
His decorations include: the Purple Heart Medal; Korean Service Medal with two bronze stars; and the United Nations Service Medal.