Fred Watson, a Hometown Hero - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Fred Watson, a Hometown Hero

Fred Watson Fred Watson

84-year-old Fred Watson got the itch to serve while the Korean War was raging on a world away.

"I really felt in my heart that I had to do something, but what I really felt in my heart was that I wanted to be in the Marine Corps," Watson said.

After training, Watson was assigned to an anti-tanker company and almost instantly became a leader.

"I was still a PFC, but I was marching the company through the parades and all that. I was in charge of it myself," Watson said.

Watson was soon sent to Korea, where he was forced to make split second decisions to protect his unit.

"It was hard to make decisions sometimes, because you didn't have time to think. You had to make your decision then and there, but that meant you could get some of them killed if you made the wrong decisions," Watson said.

He admits there were many frightening nights on the frontline's.

"To tell you the truth, if anyone says they've been there and they're not scared, they're lying to you because you do get scared," Watson said.

Watson saw things in Korea that he would carry with him for decades after. Sights and sounds that would spark a flashback at any moment.

"I never did tell my wife or kids anything about it. They probably knew because at night I'd be kicking and screaming, but I don't do that anymore. That's all out of my head," Watson said.

However, about ten years ago on a trip to Washington D.C. Watson had an experience that brought his fight with post traumatic stress disorder to an end.

"We came up to the Vietnam Memorial Wall and that's where I stopped. I couldn't go through it," Watson said.

Four women from Watson's church, including his wife, began to pray over him. Slowly, Watson took a step forward.

"And all that stuff left my head and left my mind and I didn't have any of it anymore," Watson said.

Looking back, Watson now feels nothing but pride for his time in the Marines. However, regardless of his experiences, hero is never a word he'll use to describe himself.

"I don't feel like a hero and I don't feel like I deserve any recognition. But I felt like I was just doing my job and that's what I needed to do," Watson said.

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