Family and veterans honor fallen Oconee County Marine - FOX Carolina 21

Family and veterans honor fallen Oconee County Marine

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SENECA, SC (FOX Carolina) -

It’s been more than 60 years since Nancy Long said goodbye to her brother Staff Sergeant Lewis G. Watkins as he went off to war.

"The last thing he said was I love you,” said Long, “Be careful and I'll be back."

They would be the last words she'd ever hear from him. On October 7th 1952, Watkins, known to his platoon as "Slim," was leading the men to rescue 2 rifle squads surrounded by the Chinese.

According to records, Watkins was wounded, but continued to fight on and even took up a heavy rifle to continue fighting as he and the others made their way towards their surrounded squads.

Rod Andrew, a Colonial in the Marines Corp Reserve, says Watkins's actions that day became heroic when the enemy threw a grenade into Watkins's platoon.

"He pushed the other Marines out of the way and put himself between that grenade and those other Marines,” explained Andrews, “Then picked it up and tried to throw it back at the enemy. As he did so, it went off and killed him."

Watkins is one of more than 3,400 men and women who have received the Medal of Honor and are celebrated on National Medal of Honor Day. Andrew says it’s important to remember those like him.

"We will forget all the blessings that the Lord has given us,” said Andrew, “We need to honor Valor, courage, and sacrifice for others."

As for his sister, Nancy, she misses her brother, but isn't surprised by his courage all those years ago.

"That's normal because he was a good person,” said Long.

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