MONTEVALLO, Ala. (WIAT) — A Navy hero was laid to rest Sunday afternoon.
Joshua Kaleb Watson was buried at the Alabama National Cemetery. Watson is the 23-year-old Enterprise man killed in the Pensacola Naval Base shooting. He is one of three people who were killed that tragic day. Eight more people were injured during the shooting.
Watson was in the U.S. Naval Academy, where he competed on the Navy Rifle Team. Watson spent his last moments saving other’s lives. His friends and family told CBS 42 that after being shot several times, he made it to first responders, telling them where the gunman was, and what he looked like.
One of his friends he made during his time at the Naval Academy said Watson was a man of true character.
“All of us would like to think you’d do the same thing," Ensign Aspen Bentley in the U.S. Naval Academy said. “But the truth is you don’t know until your character is tested. His character was tested. If it had to be somebody, in a way, I’m thankful it was him because none of us were surprised when we heard not only did he tell first responders and stay alive, he also lept through the quarter deck to tackle him.”
His friends and family said his actions were no surprise.
“If he were to come back today, and know that tomorrow the same thing were to happen, he would do the exact same thing again,” Evan Roberts, a childhood friend, said.
His brother remembered his brother saying he wanted to give his life for his country, “and he did that.”
Joshua Kaleb Watson, from Enterprise, Alabama was initially rejected from the Naval Academy. Instead of accepting defeat, he framed the rejection letter and used it to motivate himself.
During his burial Sunday, the 21 gun salute was given, taps was performed, and the flag was folded as friends and family grieved the loss of a sailor taken too soon.