Darien Watson was born on October 29, 1974, in Illinois. He enlisted in the U.S. Air Force on September 28, 1994, and completed basic training at Lackland AFB, Texas, in November 1994. Amn Watson next attended Air Surveillance Technician training at Keesler AFB, Mississippi, and then E-3 Sentry Air Surveillance Technician training at Tinker AFB, Oklahoma, before serving as an E-3 air surveillance technician with the 962nd Airborne Air Control Squadron at Elmendorf AFB, Alaska, from July 1995 until he was killed in the crash of an E-3B Sentry (Call Sign "Yukla 27") shortly after takeoff from Elmendorf AFB on September 22, 1995.
His Meritorious Service Medal Citation reads:
Members of Flight Yukla 27 distinguished themselves in the performance of outstanding service to the United States and Canada while serving as E-3 Airborne Warning and Air Control Systems air crew members assigned to 3rd Wing, 962nd Airborne Air Control Squadron and the 381st Air Intelligence Squadron, Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska. They consistantly demonstrated outstanding airmanship while providing long range airborne surveillance, detection, identification, and command and control during deployed operations and in the Alaska region. All were dedicated volunteers selflessly serving, and fully committed to the defense of their nations and the Alaska region. Our memory of these airmen will forever be of professionals who stepped to the front and answered the call to duty and made the ultimate sacrifice in the cause of peace and freedom. The distinctive accomplishments of each of these individuals reflect credit upon themselves, the United States Air Force, and Canadian Forces.