Retired Army Master Sgt. Patrick Watkins poses for a photos with members of the 7th Special Forces Group after being awarded the Distinguished Service Cross on May 22 at the 7th Special Forces Group Liberty Chapel on Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. He was awarded the medal 46 years after performing valorous actions during the Vietnam War in Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia. (Nick Tomecek / AP)
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Retired Army Master Sgt. Patrick Watkins' Distinguished Service Cross. (Nick Tomecek / AP)
CRESTVIEW, FLA. — One Vietnam veteran is receiving long-delayed recognition for his heroism in a 1968 battle.
Pat Watkins, 75, was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross in a special ceremony this week organized by the Army’s Florida Panhandle-based 7th Special Forces Group.
The Northwest Florida Daily News reported that Watkins, who lives in Salt Lake City, was recognized with the second-highest military honor for saving the lives of other soldiers during a deadly night attack in Da Nang. The attack killed 18 soldiers and wounded 30 including Watkins.
Watkins’ commander requested he be recognized soon after the battle, but the mission was classified and the request got lost through the military bureaucracy. Years later, fellow soldiers and friends pushed for him to be recognized.