James Watkins was born on December 15, 1951, in Washington, D.C. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy on July 6, 1970, and completed basic training at NTC Great Lakes, Illinois, in October 1970. Watkins next attended Underwater Demolition Team Basic (UDTB) training with Class 51 and then Class 52 (East Coast) at NAB Little Creek, Virginia, from October 1970 to August 1971, followed by Underwater Swimmers School at Naval Base Key West, Florida, from August to October 1971. His first assignment was with SEAL Team TWO at NAB Little Creek from October 1971 to July 1973, and then with Naval Inshore Warfare Command Atlantic at Roosevelt Roads Naval Station, Puerto Rico, from July 1973 to July 1975. BM2 Watkins' final assignment was with SEAL Team ONE at NAB Coronado, California, from August 1975 until he died in a training accident during a night jump near Otay Mesa, California, on December 2, 1975. James Watkins was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
The Sailor's Creed:
I am a United States Sailor.
I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America and I will obey the orders of those appointed over me.
I represent the fighting spirit of the Navy and those who have gone before me to defend freedom and democracy around the world.
I proudly serve my country's Navy combat team with Honor, Courage and Commitment.
I am committed to excellence and the fair treatment of all.