Born in Alpine, Texas, CAPT Watkins was raised in Odessa, Texas. A 1989 graduate of Sul Ross State University, he attended Aviation Officer Candidate School and was commissioned an Ensign in March of 1990.
After earning his wings of gold in August of 1991, CAPT Watkins reported to the “Firebirds” of VAW-110 for further flight training and carrier qualification in the E-2C Hawkeye. His first fleet assignment was with the “Sunkings” of VAW-116 where he made deployments onboard USS RANGER (CV 61) and USS CONSTELLATION (CV 64) and participated in Operations SOUTHERN WATCH and RESTORE HOPE.
In November 1995, CAPT Watkins reported to the “Greyhawks” of VAW-120 where he served as Instructor Pilot and Training Landing Signal Officer. He then reported to Carrier Air Wing Seven (CVW-7) in June of 1998 as Air Wing Landing Signal Officer and made deployments onboard USS JOHN C STENNIS (CVN 74) and USS DWIGHT D EISENHOWER (CVN 69).
CAPT Watkins was then selected to serve as the Officer in Charge of the U.S. Navy Landing Signal Officer School, NAS Oceana, Virginia. In January 2002, CAPT Watkins reported to the “Bluetails” of VAW-121 where he served as the Administration Officer and then as Maintenance Officer. During this tour he deployed onboard USS JOHN F KENNEDY (CV 67) for Operation ENDURING FREEDOM and onboard USS GEORGE WASHINGTON (CVN 73) for Operation IRAQI FREEDOM.
Reporting to the United States Marine Corps Command and Staff College in 2004, CAPT Watkins completed a voluntary program and received a Master’s Degree in Military Studies. He then completed his command tour with the “Black Eagles” of VAW-113 making deployments onboard USS RONALD REAGAN (CVN 76).
From July 2008 to June 2010, CAPT Watkins served as a Staff Officer at Headquarters United States European Command in Stuttgart, Germany where he served in the J5 as the Office of Defense Cooperation Support, Branch Chief and then as Director of the Deputy Commander’s Action Group.
CAPT Watkins then served as the Commanding Officer of VAW-120, the E-2/C-2 Fleet Replacement Squadron from July 2010 to June 2011. He then reported to Airborne Command Control and Logistics Wing as the Deputy Commodore in July 2011 and assumed the position of Commodore in March 2013.
CAPT Watkins has over 5,000 flight hours.