Navy to Host Memorial Service for Former Chief of Naval
Operations Admiral James D. Watkins
A memorial service for the 22nd Chief of Naval Operations
(CNO), Adm. James D. Watkins, will be on Friday, Aug. 3,
2012, at 11 a.m. EDT at the Basilica of the National Shrine
of the Immaculate Conception Church in Washington,
Watkins passed away on July 26 at the age of 85, and is
survived by his wife Janet and six children.
of Defense Leon E. Panetta and current Chief of Naval
Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert, will both participate in
"Adm. Watkins served the nation leading Sailors during
some of our nation's most trying and challenging times
from 1949 to 1986," said Greenert. "His
strategic approach to safeguarding our national security
and interests at sea set a precedent for generations to
come. Adm. Watkins was an innovative thinker who
pushed our Navy forward. He was known for developing
a Maritime Strategy for dealing with the U.S.S.R. and
improving the quality of life for Sailors and their
families. We will always remember the life and
honorable service of a great shipmate."
A 1949 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Watkins became
CNO June 30, 1982 and served until June 30, 1986 during the
height of the Cold War. A career submariner, he also
commanded the Navy's Sixth Fleet in Naples, Italy, and
later the U.S. Pacific Fleet in Pearl Harbor. He also
served as Chief of Naval Personnel and Vice Chief of Naval
"Few have lived as full or accomplished a life as Adm.
Watkins," said Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus.
"Although we mourn his passing, we celebrate his
accomplishments not only as a consummate naval officer and
public servant, but also as a man who understood the
importance of taking care of the entire Navy
As CNO, Watkins led a Navy that operated in support of
national objectives in Grenada, Lebanon, and the Persian
Gulf. Appreciating that changes that were occurring
in the Soviet Union at the end of the Cold War, he
initiated a review of American naval strategy. He
precipitated a renaissance in naval operational thought
that encouraged a new generation of officers to become more
After retiring from the Navy, he led a very active
life. In 1987, he chaired President Reagan's
Commission on the HIV epidemic. Known as "The
Watkins Commission," it investigated the AIDS epidemic
and eventually recommended support for increased AIDS
research, laws protecting HIV-positive people, and
treatment of drug addiction.
On March 9, 1989, Watkins was sworn in as Secretary of
Energy by President George Bush. As energy secretary,
he developed a 10-point plan to strengthen environmental
protection and waste management activities, established the
Office of Environmental Restoration and Waste Management,
and recognizing America's dependence on foreign oil,
instituted policy designed to increase oil production and
decrease consumption to counter Iraqi-Kuwaiti oil losses
caused by the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. He remained
in his position as energy secretary until 1993.
The U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy became the second
presidential commission chaired by Watkins.
Established by The Oceans Act of 2000 on Jan. 20, 2001, the
commission was charged with developing a comprehensive
national ocean policy including governance, research,
education, marine operations, stewardship, and
investment. It conducted hearings and research before
producing its final report, "An Ocean Blueprint for
the 21st Century" on Sept. 20, 2004.
Media interested in attending the funeral mass should
contact Jacquelyn Hayes, Director of Communications for the
Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate
Conception, at 202-281-0615. The Basilica is located
at 400 Michigan Ave., Northeast, Washington, D.C., and is
easily accessible by car and by Metro on the red line at
Additional news media queries may be addressed by calling
the Navy Office of Information at 703-697-5342.