Retired Adm. James D. Watkins, chief of naval operations during the Reagan administration, is with shown with current CNO Adm. Jon Greenert in 2011. Watkins died July 26. He was 85. (Navy)
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Adm. James D. Watkins, the Chief of Naval Operations during the Reagan administration, died Thursday. He was 85.
The 22nd CNO served on both surface ships and submarines after graduating from the Naval Academy. During his 37 years in the Navy, he became an experienced submarine officer, according to his Naval History and Heritage Command biography. He served as commander of 6th Fleet and Pacific Fleet, chief of naval personnel and vice chief of naval operations. He took over as CNO in 1982.
Watkins was awarded the Bronze Star with V, Legion of Merit with two gold award stars, and the Distinguished Service Medal from the Navy, Army and Air Force.
After retiring, Watkins worked to protect the world's oceans, serving on the board of trustees of the National Maritime Sanctuary Foundation and as chairman of the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy.