Championship Bull Riding is pleased to profile this week’s Hometown Hero, Burnie Mims Watson, III, Retired United States Air Force Lieutenant Colonel
Four time World Champion and Pro Rodeo Hall of Famer Tuff Hedeman will honor Burnie, or Buddy as he is known to friends and family, Saturday night at the CenturyLink Center at the intermission of the Eldorado Resort Shreveport Tuff Hedeman CBR. Watson will be honored for his twenty five years of service as a pilot in the United States Air Force which includes a flight time record that included 3,200 hours flying AC-130, RF-4, and F-16s.
Buddy, who competed in rodeo as a youth, currently enjoys the Louisiana ranch life and judings rodeos on multiple competitive rodeo circuits.
Watson, a 1973 graduate of Texas A & M, spent his first six years after flight school crewing AC 130 Spectre Gunships in Thailand, which involved Operation Frequent Wind, the Saigon evacuation, and included the rescue of the USS Mayaguez. In 1981 he was stationed in Germany and floew RF-4C which included flying 27 NATO reconianance missions against East Germany and Poland. In 1986 he was stateside at Nellis AFB in Nevada as a squadron commander.
In the early 90’s Watson served as the Weapons Officer for the Central Air Forces (CENTAF) and member
33rd and 17Tactical Fighter Squadrons flying F-16s in in Desert Shield/Storm Operations as a member of General Chuck Horner’s staff and also served as the General’s pilot.
By 1994 he was once again stateside Fort Benning, Georgia as Operations Officer and Squadron Commander 17 Air Grounds Operations Squadron,which provided combat air support to 3rd Brigade of the 3rd Infantry Division and the 75th Ranger Regiment.
Mr. Watson retired in 1997 with many awards including the Meritorious Service Medal with 3 clusters, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, Air Force Achievement Medal, Combat Readiness Medal with 5 oak leaf clusters, National Defense Medal, Southeast Asia Service Medal, Southwest Asia Service Medal, United Nations Service Medal
After retirement Watson taught at Ruston High School and then deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan) with DynCorp Inc.
Buddy and his wife Jane live in Eros, Louisiana and enjoy ranch life and their three grandchildren.
Courtesy of CBR