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Slain Enterprise High graduate Kaleb Watson awarded Purple Heart

His parents, Ben and Sheila Watson, accepted the award during one of several ceremonies that mark the one-year anniversary of the tragedy.
Published: Dec. 4, 2020 at 10:14 PM CST
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Pensacola, FL. (WTVY) -Joshua Kaleb Watson, an Enterprise High School graduate hailed a hero, has posthumously been awarded the Purple Heart.

His parents, Ben and Sheila Watson, accepted the award during one of several ceremonies that mark the one-year anniversary of the tragedy.

Families of two other sailors killed on December 6, 2019—Cameron Walters and Mohammed Haitham--also accepted Purple Hearts.

The award honors military members injured or killed in combat, by an act of terrorism or by friendly fire.

A few hours before receiving the Purple heart Friday, Ben and Sheila Watson returned to Building 633 where a Saudi terrorist, who deputies killed, fired shots that also wounded eight others.

“This is where (Kaleb), who was 24, took cover after being wounded six times,” Ben Watson recalled in an interview with WTVY. Despite those wounds, he warned students headed toward the building for muster---military roll call.

Earlier Friday, the Watsons and parents of the others killed by Saudi Royal Air Force 2nd Lt. Mohammed Alshamrani attended a remembrance ceremony at the Navy base’s chapel.

“Your sons embody our core values. They will forever hold a place in my heart,” Rear Adm. Pete Garvin, commander of the Naval Education and Training Command, told an audience that included invited guests.

Kaleb Watson eyed a military career long before he joined the U.S. Navy. “(Joining the Navy) is all he wanted to do, and he was so excited to do it,” Sheila Watson said of her son in an earlier interview.

He joined Enterprise High School’s JROTC program where he became captain His dad fondly remembers going to Zaxby’s restaurant, where Kaleb worked part-time, to tell his son he had been accepted to the Naval Academy.

In Annapolis, he also captained the Academy’s Rifle team and graduated in May 2019 with his degree in mechanical engineering and his commission.

After graduating, he headed to Pensacola where he died a few days later while standing guard.

Ben and Sheila Watson, married for 32 years, rely on each other, their two other children, and friend made through the crises to cope.

“Kaleb’s Navy family and friends—they keep us going, Sheila Watson said.

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