Maine National Guardsmen Retires after 31 Years of Distinguished Service

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AUGUSTA, ME (05/22/2017) (readMedia)-- Master Sgt. Earl Watts retired from the Maine Army National Guard May 22nd after 31 years of distinguished service.

Watts enlisted in August 1985 and began his career as a military policeman in Fort Bragg, NC. He would go on to serve as a Drug Suppression Team Investigator in Korea, a military police team leader at Fort Drum, NY, and later would join the New York Army National Guard when he left the active service in 1992. Shortly after leaving active duty, Watts transferred to the Maine Army National Guard, serving as an infantryman, team leader and squad leader, before he transferred to the Maine Air National Guard.

Watts served in the Civil Support Team and transferred back to the Maine Army National Guard in 2000. In 2007 he was reassigned to the Mobility Readiness Office as the Force Integration and Readiness non-commissioned officer until 2015 when he was reassigned to the Strategic Plans and Initiatives Office where he served as the Strategic Planning NCO for the Maine Army National Guard.

Watts mobilizations and deployments include TF 2-14 Infantry to the Multi-National Force and Observations Mission in the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt from 1990-1991. He deployed with the Maine Air National Guard 101st Security Forces Squadron in support of Operation Southern Watch from 1999-2000, then with the Maine Army National Guard's 286th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion in 2009 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Watts holds a Master's Degree in American History, and devoted his free time to teaching as adjunct instructor at Thomas College in Waterville. He has been married to his wife Liz for 24 years, and they have two children together, one who was late on an exam which Watts reminded him of during the ceremony Wednesday afternoon.

Lt. Col. Darryl Lyon who could not be at the ceremony, sent a letter to be read in his absence. The two spent many years together within the Civil Support Team.

In his letter he wrote,

"There are people you meet in life that make a difference in yours. These kinds of people cause you to think bigger thoughts than you might expect, to do deeds you didn't think you could do- and challenge you to be your best self. Earl Watts is this kind of person," he began.

As Watts begins this next chapter of his life, Lyon offered the following.

"Keep well your new charge- the minds of our youth are our best guarantee against tyranny and ruin- they are yours now... bestow upon them your best wisdom and ensure they know full well the power of virtuous leadership, responsible citizenship and the most powerful of them all- friendship."

"I have made a list of the things that I will miss and those that I will not miss," Watts said, earning a lot of laughter from the crowd. "I won't miss the hurry up and wait...but I will miss putting on the uniform. I think that is going to be the hardest part of my next journey."

For additional information, please contact Maj. Norman J. Stickney, 207-430-5759, or


170419-Z-SC-231-9725 Col. Hamilton Richard presents the Meritorious Service Medal to Sgt. 1st Class Earl Watts at a retirement ceremony held April 19 in Augusta. Watts was recognized for his role in increasing Maine Army National Guard readiness and improving key work systems at all levels while supporting and developing numerous officers. (Maine Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Angela Parady.)

10419-Z-SC231-9745 Sgt. 1st Class Earl Watts is presented with a shadow box from Col. Hamilton Richards and Lt. Col. Phillip Trevino during his retirement ceremony held April 19. The shadow box contains mementos and awards collected during his 31 years of service. (Maine Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Angela Parady.)