MSgt. Donald Watson -  GoldTeam Captain  2013-2017

1945 - 4/21/2017

FMF WESPAC RVN, 1968 and 1969
DI San Diego 1St. Bn A Co, RTR, MCRD. 1970-72
Msgt. Donald Watson
USMC May 1964-May 1986 Retired
Semper Fi#1 Since July 2009


MSGT Donald Lloyd Watson, USMC ret
October 29, 1945 - April 21, 2017
Don Watson grew up in a small town in Kentucky. He enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1964 and served in Vietnam earning numerous decorations including 2 Purple Hearts and the Air Medal with 4 stars. After 13 years in overseas assignments he returned to his primary specialty of Air Traffic Controller and concluded his 22-year career at El Toro Marine Corps Air Station in 1986. He began his "second career" with Boeing Aircraft in 1988, again retiring after 20 years. 
While Don was always available for a family member or friend who needed help with a project, he most enjoyed his time with the children in the family. Hiking, boating, travel and regular outings to the baseball game were the highlights of a well-earned retirement. Yet, even in retirement, Don remained committed to his military duties. He belonged to the Semper Fi #1 Memorial Honor Detail, operating at Riverside National Cemetery, where he regularly participated in burial ceremonies for fallen American servicemen from all military branches. 
Although he resided in California for over 30 years, Don never lost touch with his Kentucky roots. He made regular visits to his home state where he maintained a close and life-long relationship with his cousins, their families, and his step-father Gene. He is survived by his wife Kathy, his daughter Gina, his son Bill, his step-son Ian, and several grandchildren, nieces, nephews, aunts, and uncles. 
Don Watson led a full, active, and honorable life and will be missed by all who knew him. His final services will be held at The Riverside National Cemetery on Saturday, May 27th at 11:00am

Photos from Don's service courtesy Stacy Lobato (C) 2017 all rights reserved


In accordance with his wishes, and in lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the Semper Fi #1

c/o Mac McClain at 16130 Red Pony Lane, Riverside, CA 92504.

- See more at: https://obits.ocregister.com/obituaries/orangecounty/obituary.aspx?page=lifestory&pid=185301020#sthash.k3g5kflZ.dpuf


In Memorium


Sgt. Denne Howard


USMC 1953-1956
MCRD Parris Island S.C. Plt 9A
Instructor MCI 8th &I Washington D.C.


     Denne entered in the Marines in Jackson MS in May 1953 - served until May 1956. After boot camp at Parris Island S.C. was sent to HDQTRS MC, Henderson Hall and assigned to The Marine Corps Institute.  Served entire enlistment as Instructor in the History & Foreign Languages Section of the Academic School.     
     In addition to being Vice President,  She was our Legal Advisor,  and Bugler for the Gold team.

     Denne passed away Dec 29th in Rancho Mirage, CA. Services are pending.

Obituary for Denne Howard

Born November 29th, 1931; Died December 29th, 2015


     Born in Brandon, Mississippi in 1931, Denne Howard passed away at her home in Rancho Mirage, CA on December 29th, 2015.

     Denne played the bugle in high school band and stated that there was a shortage of buglers for military burial services and the high school band was often called upon to play taps.  After graduation from high school, she bacame a high school band directorand then enlisted in the Marines for a 3 year term.  She chose the Marines because her hero was Louis H. Wilson, a hometown favorite and Congressional Medal of Honor winner.

      Denne enlisted in the Marine Corps in May of 1953 and served a three year enlistment during the Korean War.  When serving in the Marine Corps she had wanted to be a pilot and she also wanted to be in the United States Marine Band. Neither option was open to women in the 1950's. However, that did not stop Denne. In later years she got her private pilot's license and owned her own small plane and she joined the Marine Honor Guard Semper Fi #1 and played taps for the unit at many ceremonies at the Riverside National Cemetery.

      "In those days women were not afforded the same opportunities as men, such as playing in the Marine Corps Band."  Denne stated. She was stationed in the Washington, D.C. area and after her discharge moved to Orange County, California where she worked in public safety communications until she retired and then attended law school at Western State University in Fullerton. Denne practiced law for over 20 years with her own estate planning and probate practice. She offered pro bond assistance at Mizell Senior Center in Palm Springs twice a month during that time.

      Denne has contributed much to our chapter and I always considered her our "founding mother; since she started organizing the chapter here In the Twentynthe Palms area in 2003. She announced a startup meeting; worked with active duty women Marines and searched but many former and retired Marines/ She organized the paperwork with National and after the chapter started arid then restarted again in 2007; Denne was actively pushing and pulling us into an organized unit.

      Denne was one of the original four members in 2007 and served as our treasurer for several years. Denne also represented the chapter at Marine Corps JROTC awards program.  She played taps at the memorial services conducted at the Women Marines Association conventions.

        On behalf of all members, I know that we can thank her for making us the active chapter thaj we are today. Our chapter will have a special remembrance of Denne at our next Chapter meeting oh January 23rd. I am hoping that most of you can attend and we can share bur memories together as a group.

      - Courtesy Women Marine Association Chapter 29 Palms, CA

Photos From Denne's Service 1/29/2016 1431 hours Riverside National Cemetery


Please click the link above.

Photos provided courtesy of Dee Dee Rodler and will be available until 5/1/2016.


“Marine Corps Credo:

To catch us, you have to be fast. To find us, you have to be smart.

To beat us, you have to be kidding.”