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Donald Watts was born to Susie Florence Watts (Nee Harding) and William Henry Watts on April 8, 1921, in Berkeley, California.
He attended Whittier Elementary School, Burbank Junior High School and Berkeley High School.
He graduated in June of 1939 and enlisted in the U.S. Navy on August 13, 1940, in the belief that war was coming to the world. He graduated from recruit training in October of 1940 and was assigned to the destroyer USS Mugford (DD389) in San Diego, California.
The ship proceeded to Seattle, Washington, and left for Hawaii, where it arrived just before Christmas 1940. The ship was at Pearl Harbor Navy Base Pier 9 Tin Tin dock when attacked by the Japanese.
The Mugford and the USS Jarvis left first and second out of the harbor to pick up survivors. Finding no enemy ships nearby, they returned to Pearl Harbor.
The ships went to the waters near Wake Island but were ordered away because of a far superior Japanese naval force.
On December 24, they sailed for American Samoa and Tahiti, laying by there for two days to pick up a convoy to Australia, where they arrived in Brisbane in January of 1942.
Don's ship was assigned to Australian Naval Forces for defense and convoy duty. They later proceeded to New Guinea and New Caledonia. The Mugford went to Auckland, New Zealand, picking up the Marine convoy for Guadalcanal, where the Mugford was attacked and bombed by Japanese torpedo bombers and returned to Sydney, Australia, for repairs.
Don was with the Marine landing in Tarawa before being sent to Kwajalein.
Don served on the Polaris in the Korean War and again volunteered for duty during the Vietnam War.
Don served in I Corps and ran his ship up the Perfume River on many runs to Hue and Dong Ha and Cau Viet, carrying ammunition, aviation fuel and supplies for the Marines. He was awarded a special commendation medal for pilot duty in the Chu Lai Harbor and adjacent waters.
He retired on September 1, 1970, from active duty after 30 years of service from Naval Station Corpus Christi, Texas, with 18 medals and 17 ribbons.
He and his family bought a ranch in Eastern Washington, where they built a three-story ranch house. Don graduated from Spokane Community College with a degree in forestry. He worked for the Colville National Forest and was sent on fire protection details over Montana and California.
Due to heart surgeries, he sold the ranch and traveled a few years by motor home, often in Fall City, Washington, and in Ocean Shores, Washington, and retired in Brinnon.
He belonged to the Scottish American Military Society, the Free and Accepted Masons, the Seattle Nile Shrine, the Scottish Rite of Oakland, California, York Rite of Long Beach, California, and Royal Arch Masons of Long Beach, California.
He also belonged to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Military Society, USNI, National Rifle Association, Nimitz Memorial, National World War II Museum, Patton Memorial, Memorial of the Pacific Pearl Harbor and Ford Island, The Retired Enlisted Association, Fleet Reserve, Navy Relief, Wounded Warriors, Paralyzed and Disabled Vets, and Navy Memorial in Washington, D.C.
He leaves behind his widow, former Sergeant Jean Hay Irving of the Australian Army HQ YO Section; sons Donald (Anne) Watts, Andrew (Thuy) Watts, Alan ( Tanya) Watts and Karl (Candy) Watts; daughters Linley, Sari-Marais and Susan (Mike) Kelley, Mandy and Cindy; 28 grandchildren; and 14 great-grandchildren.
Memorial contributions in his honor can be made to the Welfare For Animals Guild of Sequim, (www.welfare4animalsguild.org) and Wounded Warriors (www.woundedwarriorproject.org).
A memorial service will take place Saturday, October 19, at 1 p.m. at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 10104 Rhody Drive, Chimacum.
Published in The Peninsula Daily News on Oct. 13, 2013
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