James Watson Obituary – Vero Beach, Florida
USN Ret. Chief James “Patches” Dennis Watson, III, 76, of Vero Beach, FL passed away on October 26, 2013 at Indian River Medical Center …
Mr. Watson retired from the United States Navy where he served as a Navy Seal and was the original plank owner of SEAL Team 2.
I just learned of Chief’s death yesterday, through the quite natural occurrence of every mutual friend assuming that other mutual friends had already let me know when it happened, as it happened.
I owe Chief a lot, and would have been there to say goodbye … crawling, if necessary.
Many years ago, Chief showed up at Little Jim Bait and Tackle, the unofficial, official SEAL Team II headquarters, in the midst of my pestering another SEAL Team 2 plank holder and one of their famed UDT predecessors about strategies to fight city hall, when feds were packing said hall.
I’d just asked the two warriors already present if honey or vinegar was the best approach, and without knowing what I was attempting to accomplish, Chief chimed in on the pro-vinegar side, with “Who the f*ck wants flies, anyway?”
After learning that my inquiry concerned feds’ role in wrongful convictions, Chief’s tune abruptly changed to a dismissive discourse about those I was trying to help, “They all say they’re innocent.”
Chief continued singing that tune even after Bill Dillon – one of the men I’d been battling for – had charges dropped due to DNA results in 2008 (after 27 years behind bars), and even after, as the result of Chief’s hands-on help, I was able to prove that another man was just where he said he was in a given time frame, despite contrary police and “witness” testimony.
While he was helping me, nothing-but-nothing got on Chief’s nerves worse than my slipping up and referring to blades as knives … knives are for kitchens; blades are for everyplace else.
Chief designed a lot of military equipment, and had some of the blades he designed manufactured by Gerber, which happened to be just the manufacturer I needed to get in touch with, and did, with Chief’s grumbling assistance.
Even when his assistance nailed down the truth about the blade purchase, Chief didn’t give an inch … the guy I was trying to help “must have been guilty of something.”
As it happens, Jeff Abramowski was rather a wild child, more so than Bill Dillon. But Jeff’s prior offenses, like Bill’s prior offense, had been handled separately, with no cumulative effect that could turn innocence of committing homicide into guilt.
I read Chief’s Point Man and Walking Point, more meaningful for me than most others because I knew a number of the people mentioned therein, one of whose six words on winning often run through my mind, “Just keep standing back up again.”
Another warrior’s words of less reluctant mentorship also keep running through my mind, “No matter what, keep on writing, Susie; it’s the only thing that’s keeping you safe.”
Now that Chief is on the other side, he has a clearer view on what I’ve been up to since 2004 … which was a couple years after we met. I wouldn’t put it beyond his ferocious capabilities to be able to “put a hurt on” those who’ve been hurting me (and others) from wherever he’s at, while considering it his own version of resting in peace … he may be walking point for me, or just occasionally pouring on the vinegar.
After all, who the f*ck wants flies.