Commander Watson graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1968 and served as a naval flight officer for 20 years. He has more than 2,000 flight hours in the F-4 and more than 1,500 hours in the F-14. He also participated in the F/A-18 initial weapon system development and testing. He flew 288 combat missions in the F-4J during the Vietnam War and has seven squadron deployments to the western Pacific. He is a graduate of the Navy Fighter Weapons School and the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School.