In honor of his “exemplary” service from January to March 2020, Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Zachary Watts was named the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command Senior Sailor of the Quarter.
“I was honored to be selected among other sailors whom I highly regard,” he said, “and I am thankful my hard work is paying off.
“I want to thank my parents, David and Christina Watts for the values they instilled in me and the love and support they have always given me. I also want to thank my wife, Katie, for supporting my decision to enlist and sticking with me through two deployments and two PCS moves.”
According to the flag letter of commendation from U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Stephen T. Koehler, the Cartersville native was honored for his “outstanding” work that was performed in an “exemplary and highly professional manner” during his assignment as the Pacific Narrowband Satellite Communications manager.
“His technical expertise, personal initiative and meticulous attention to detail while providing exceptional oversight and coordination was critical in the resolution of mission-critical network assignments and the annual validation of 263 network architecture documents across six subordinate commands,” Koehler said in his letter. “His efforts streamlined the satellite access assignment process spanning four frequency bands while achieving 100 percent compliance with Joint Staff tasking.
“Additionally, as the command Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Victim advocate, he led a team of three sailors in the preparation and facilitation of training to ensure completion of the command’s annual training requirements. Petty Officer Watts’ professionalism, initiative and dedication to duty reflected credit upon himself and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.”
Watts is presently based at Camp H.M. Smith in Hawaii with his wife and their cat and dog — Pork and Pepper.
“I am an electronics technician,” he said. “At my current assignment, I manage satellite communications networks for the Navy, Army, Marines and Air Force across the entire Indo-Pacific Area of Operations — from the west coast of the U.S. to the west coast of India.
“In addition to serving with the greatest people of all genders, nationalities and walks of life, my favorite parts of being in the Navy have been the burritos and beers of San Diego, rainbows of Hawaii, and experiencing the cultures and cuisine of Japan, Korea and the Persian Gulf.”
A 2008 graduate of Woodland High School, Watts enlisted in the U.S. Navy about nine years ago after attending college for a couple years.
“I was having trouble picking a major and didn't want to rack up any more student loan debt for a degree that my heart wasn't in,” he said. “My uncle, Ken Garrison, retired from the Navy and joining seemed like the most logical choice to me.”
Along with his latest accolade, Watts also has earned several other awards during his Naval career, including a pair of Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals and the Indo-Pacific Command Sailor of the Quarter for the fourth quarter of 2019.