Greenville native, Navy officer earns his eagle

Published 11:01 am Monday, August 31, 2009

On Aug. 5, 1976, a young high school graduate from Greenville, Ala. enlisted in the Navy as a Seaman Recruit with hopes of making his parents proud.

On Aug. 5, 2009, 33 years later in Mechanicsburg, Pa., with an audience of over 200 people, this same sailor was promoted to the rank of Navy Captain.

Capt. James Watts transitioned from the enlisted to officer ranks in November 1988 when he was commissioned as a Supply Corps Officer through the Limited Duty Officer (LDO) Program.

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He is a 2002 graduate of University of New York’s Regent College and earned a Masters degree in Military Operational Arts from the Air Force Command and Staff College in 2003.

Watts is currently assigned to Naval Inventory Control Point (NAVICP) Mechanicsburg as Director of the Nuclear Reactors Supply Chain Management Directorate since May of 2007.

Following his swearing in, officiated by Capt. Craig Herrick, NAVICP’s Deputy Commander for Ships and Submarines, Watts thanked all in attendance and said that he has continued his career in the military because he “loves the Navy” and the contribution the Navy makes to maintain freedom for the United States and throughout the world.

Additionally, he attributed the bulk of his success to the unwavering support of his family.

Watts’ wife, Cheryl, literally the girl next door whom he married two years following his enlistment, and his son, James, now a Business Account Executive, were present at the ceremony. His daughter, Ebony, a Lieutenant in the Navy Nurse Corps stationed in Naples, Italy, was unable to attend.

Herrick noted, “…for over thirty-three years, Capt. Watts has provided great support to his fellow Sailors. During his service as an enlisted Disbursing Clerk, Capt. Watts was responsible for correctly paying hundreds of Sailors and was twice selected as his command’s Sailor of the Year. In his afloat jobs as an officer, he served on a cruiser and an aircraft carrier and was responsible for supporting thousands. As Director of Navy Food Service, his efforts positively affected hundreds of thousands of Sailors. I could not imagine a better officer that the Navy could have selected to promote to Captain.”

In closing his remarks, Watts read a quote from Adm. Hyman G. Rickover, the Father of the Nuclear Navy, noting that his words have served as a true inspiration, “I believe it is the duty of each of us to act as if the fate of the world depended on him. Admittedly, one man by himself cannot do the job. However, one man can make a difference… We must live for the future of the human race, and not for our own comfort or success.”