Third Generation Ranger joins the Regiment


running up that hill
Jan 3, 2007
in Wonderland, with my Alice stories/Archives/2008/January/080103-01.html

By Tracy A. Bailey
75th Ranger Regiment Public Affairs

HUNTER ARMY AIRFIELD , Ga. (USASOC-CI, Jan 3, 2007) - For more than 30 years, three generations of the Watson family have raised their right hand and volunteered for service to their country and it started with retired Sgt. 1st Class Jimmie Watson.

After spending six years in the Air Force, the senior Watson, also known as Grandpa saw the light and joined the Army in 1975. After a long and distinguished career, he retired in 1995. Watson spent three years with 2nd Battalion (Ranger), 75th Infantry from 1980 to 1983.

Three of Watson’s five sons have served in the 75th Ranger Regiment. Chief Warrant Officer 3 Jason Watson, who is now a Black Hawk Pilot in the 1st Infantry Division, Travis Watson (former Sgt. Travis Watson) who was injured while serving in Iraq, and Command Sgt. Maj. Sean (Tim) Watson, who spent 10 years in the Regiment and is currently Command Sgt. Maj. of 165th Infantry Brigade, Fort Jackson, S.C.

A new generation of Watsons has joined the Ranger ranks, Command Sgt. Maj. Watson’s son Pfc. Donald J. Watson graduated from the Ranger Indoctrination Program Dec. 20 as the honor graduate.

“I am very proud and very happy, but as a parent very concerned with one of our sons in the Army during a time of war,” Tim said.

After graduating from Basic and Infantry training here, Tim went to Fort Bragg for about eight months, when he made the decision to join what was then the 3rd Battalion (Ranger), 75th Infantry in 1984. His dad was assigned to 2nd Bn. and Tim wanted to be a part of the regiment.

At this point in the Regiment’s history, 3rd Battalion and the Regimental Headquarters were starting to form. Tim arrived at 3rd Battalion, 75th Infantry (Ranger) three months before the battalion’s activation October 1984.

The youngest Ranger Watson, Donny was born at Martin Army Community Hospital, here in 1989 while his dad was stationed with the 75th. Although Fort Benning is not home for Donny, he did spend the first six years of his life here.

Graduation for Donny was a special day, not only because his family was here to share it with him, but also because his dad was the guest speaker.

In his speech to the graduating RIP class, Tim said, “You are entering into a brotherhood that few have ever known or have had the honor to experience.

“Living as a member of the Ranger Regiment is a way of life. Don’t forget this. Life in the Regiment and living the Ranger Creed can be quite hard. The rigors, stress and pressures placed on you will be extreme. It has to be this way. It is designed to forge a Warrior to become an integral part of a fighting team that is asked to conduct some of the most difficult missions around the world.”

Being apart of the Regiment has helped Tim grow into the leader he is today.

“The NCOs and the officers that I was raised under, they are the ones who built me into what I am today and why I’ve survived because of the very basics that they taught and how well they taught me,” Tim said.

These are the same leadership skills both Jimmie and Tim know Donny will gain from today’s leaders.

“I am more comfortable knowing that my children and my grandchildren are in the Army today, because they are better trained Soldiers, they are very professional,” said Jimmie.

Make no mistake, Tim knows what his son faces.

“These young men are in store for a hard time, and I don’t mean just because of the war but the Ranger Regiment is a hard life. The big thing is for them to keep their head up, keep working and training and keep building their skills,” he said.

Donny joined the Army and the Regiment because he wanted to do something meaningful with his life. “I figured regiment was the best way for him to do this,” he said.

Donny received acceptance letters from all of the universities he applied to and he turned down two separate scholarships to the University of South Carolina.

“I think the biggest reason Donny joined the Rangers is for the challenge and the adventure,” Tim said. “He is certainly intelligent enough to go to college and graduate.”

Donny is happy with the path that he has chosen, “RIP was rough but it was worth it and I am happy to be a part of the Regiment.”

For those Soldiers coming to RIP, he offers this advice, “Don’t quit! It’s worth it.”

Donny has a lot to live up to being a third generation Ranger.

“I think it makes it easier though, whenever I want to relax or slack off, I won’t because I don’t want to let anyone down,” he said.

Donny is assigned to 1st Bn. at Hunter Army Airfield, Savannah, Ga. “1st Bn. is close to home and no one in my family has been stationed there. I will be the first,” he said

“There are very few things that are more honorable than service to your nation,” Tim said.

The Watson family proves that Rangers really do, lead the way.


Command Sgt. Maj. Tim Watson pins on the 75th Ranger Regiment regimental Scroll to his son, honor graduate Pfc. Donald Watson. (Photo courtesy of 75th Ranger Regiment Public Affairs)

Pfc. Donald Watson, retired Sgt. 1st Class Jimmie Watson and Command Sgt. Maj. Tim Watson at Ranger Watson's graduation Dec. 20 at Hunter Army Airfield, Ga. . (Photo courtesy of 75th Ranger Regiment Public Affairs)
It is awesome to see three generations serving not only in the military but in a spec ops unit such as this.
I think growing up in an Army family gives him a leg up on his peers. He knows first hand what it was like for his father and uncles, at least in terms of the amount of time and effort it requires to serve in that unit.

Best of luck to him.