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During the recent shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola, an unbelievable story of courage has emerged.
One of the sailors there — shot five times — left the safety of cover to tell the first response team where the shooter was located, which indirectly saved many lives.
But what’s even more shocking is that this sailor, Joshua Kaleb Watson, was only 23, and was a recent graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy.
Watson, who was the officer on deck at the time of the shooting, was shot at least five times, but he still somehow decided to exit cover and flag down first responders, giving an accurate description of the shooter and pointing out the man’s location.
Watson’s father, Benjamin Watson, said that his son “died serving his country.”
His father also said that his son had dreamed of becoming a Navy pilot and had only reported to Pensacola for flight training the week of Veterans Day.
Somehow, for me at least, this makes the story all the more tragic. That Watson had pursued his dream to fly and had that dream cut short because of circumstances beyond his control.
But at the same time, it also makes the story all the more impressive. I’m pretty sure a lot of young officers might have thought, “That’s not my job. And I’ve already been shot five times. I’m going to stay in here and try to just stay alive.”
But Watson didn’t. He left cover, he showed incredible bravery, and he ultimately sacrificed his life in the service of others.
I know the men and women of our military REGULARLY show incredible bravery and courage, and it would be impossible for me to document them all. But let’s never take these kinds of sacrifice for granted in our increasingly selfish, self-centered world.
Please keep the family of Watson in your thoughts, and let’s never forget his sacrifice. Try to tell someone else about the actions that he took. Either today, or even months or years from now, if you’re talking to some young kid or future grandchild. Such courage and sacrifice by service members like Watson should be properly honored.
Stan R. Mitchell
Stan R. Mitchell, a prior infantry Marine, is the author of ten, fast-paced novels. He’s sold more than 70,000 books and his favorite authors are Vince Flynn, Tom Clancy, and Stephen King. If you’re looking for an independent artist to support, look no further. You’ll love Mitchell’s books. Click the link below to check out his books.