Admiral Watkins is a native of California and a 1949 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy. Following initial sea duty on a destroyer he attended Submarine School in 1951 and was assigned to USS VOLADOR (SS 490) under the command of CDR Dennis Wilkinson.  He was designated qualified in Submarines by his Division Commander, CAPT “Chick” Clarey and then selected by CDR Gene Fluckey to be Division Engineer. In 1955 he attended the Naval Postgraduate School and received a Master’s Degree in 1958 upon graduation from the Reactor Engineering Course at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
Upon completion of graduate school he was assigned as XO of USS BABERO (SSG 317). In 1960 he was selected for the nuclear power training program, going directly to the Schenectady, NY prototype, bypassing nuclear power school.  He was then assigned to be XO of the new construction submarine USS SNOOK (SSN 592) under construction at Pascagoula, LA. After commissioning and shakedown of SNOOK, Admiral Watkins was selected by Admiral Rickover to serve as his Assistant for Selection, Education, and Training of personnel for duty in nuclear powered ships.
Selected for command in 1964, he requested reassignment to USS SNOOK, this time through the Windsor Locks prototype. While in SNOOK, Admiral Watkins was instrumental in completing the development of the “Water Boy” intercept package. In 1966 he was ordered on short notice to report as XO, USS LONG BEACH (CGN 9) via his third prototype in Idaho Falls, serving until 1969 including three deployments to the Gulf of Tonkin. Selected for Captain, he reported to BUPERS as the Director of Submarine Officer and Nuclear Trained Enlisted Personnel Distribution.
Selected for Flag Rank in 1971, Admiral Watkins’ initial assignment was the first Director of Enlisted Personnel. Subsequent Flag tours included COMCRUDESGRU ONE, Chief of Naval Personnel where he was instrumental in setting up the “all volunteer Navy” and “Sea Pay”, COMSIXTHFLT, VCNO, and CINCPACFLT. President Reagan selected him in June 1982 as the 22nd Chief of Naval Operations. As CNO, Admiral Watkins authored the first unclassified U. S. Maritime Strategy in 1986.
Retiring from the Navy in 1986, Admiral Watkins continued to serve our Nation as Chairman of the Presidential Commission on the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (AIDS) Epidemic under President Reagan, Secretary of Energy under President George H. W. Bush, and Chairman of the U. S. Commission on Ocean Policy under President George W. Bush. He has been awarded five honorary doctorate degrees.
* From the 2002 NSL Banquet Program where he was honored as the first Distinguished Submariner
Sailor, rest you oar....