A 1979 graduate of Ferndale High School in Oakland County Michigan, Watson studied engineering for two years at Michigan State University. He dropped out and enlisted in the Navy in 1984.
Today Joseph Watson and his family would have celebrated his 61st birthday.
Joseph P. Watson was laid to rest:
Roseland Park Cemetery
Oakland County, Michigan
On May 17, 1987, the USS Stark was struck by two Exocet anti-ship missiles fired from an Iraqi Mirage aircraft during the Iran-Iraq War, killing 37 Sailors and wounding 21.
The aircraft had taken off from Shaibah at 8 pm and had flown south into the Persian Gulf. The pilot fired the first Exocet missile from a range of 22.5 nautical miles, and the second from 15.5 nautical miles, just about the time Stark issued a standard warning by radio. The frigate did not detect the missiles and the only warning was given by the lookout just moments before the missiles struck.
The first missile penetrated the port-side hull and failed to detonate, but left flaming rocket fuel in its path. The second entered at almost the same point, leaving a 4-by-6-foot gash and exploded in crew quarters.
After the damage was brought under control, the Stark sailed to Bahrain and was later repaired at Ingalls Shipbuilding, Mississippi. Following subsequent tours in the Middle East area, Stark was decommissioned in 1999 and later scrapped in 2006.
President Reagan’s Remarks at a Memorial Service for Crew members of the USS Stark in Jacksonville, Florida on May 22, 1987.
The names of those who lost their lives:
SN Doran H. Bolduc, Lacey, WA
BM1 Braddi O. Brown, Calera, AL
FC3 Jeffrey L. Calkins, Richfield Springs, NY
SN Mark R. Caouette, Fitchburg, MA
SN John A. Ciletta, Jr., Brigantine, NJ
SR Brian M. Clinefelter, San Bernardino, CA
OS3 Antonio A. Daniels, Greeleyville, SC
ET3 Christopher DeAngelis, Dumont, NJ
IC3 James S. Dunlap, Osceola Mills, PA
STGSN Steven T. Erwin, Troy, MI
RM2 Jerry Boyd Farr, Charleston, SC (current rate is IT)
QMCS Vernon T. Foster, Jacksonville, FL
RMSA Dexter D. Grissett, Macon, GA (current rate is IT)
FC3 William R. Hansen, Reading, MA
GMG3 Daniel Homicki, Elizabeth, NJ
OSSN Kenneth D. Janusik, Jr., Clearwater, FL
OS1 Steven E. Kendall, Honolulu, HI
EMCS Stephen Kiser, Elkhart, IN
SM1 Ronnie G. Lockett, Bessemer, AL
GMM1 Thomas J. MacMullen, Darby, PA
EW3 Charles T. Moller, Columbus, GA (current rate is CTT)
OS3 Lee Stephens, Pemberton, OH
SA Jeffrei L. Phelps, Locust Grove, VA
DS1 Randy E. Pierce, Choctaw, OK
GM3 James Plonsky, Van Nuys, CA
ET3 Kelly R. Quick, Linden, MI
SMSN Earl P. Ryals, Boca Raton, FL
FCCS Robert L. Shippee, Adams Center, NY
SMSA Jeffrey C. Sibley, Metairie, LA
BM2 James R. Stevens, Visalia, CA
ET3 Martin J. Supple, Jacksonville, FL
FC1 Gregory L. Tweady, Champaign, IL
SN Vincent L. Ulmer, Bay Minette, AL
EW3 Joseph P. Watson, Ferndale, MI (current rate is CTT)
ET3 Wayne R. Weaver, II, New Bethlehem, PA
OSSN Terrance Weldon, Coram, NY
IC2 Lloyd A. Wilson, Summerville, SC