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Mechanical Engineering

ENS Joshua Kaleb Watson


U.S. Naval Academy Statement via Naval Academy Public Affairs.

The Naval Academy family is devastated to learn one of the three victims in the Naval Air Station Pensacola shooting was one of our own, Ensign Joshua Kaleb Watson, Class of 2019. 

Josh was a member of 10th company and captained the 2018-2019 Rifle Team. A mechanical engineering major, he service selected and was assigned to naval aviation. Upon commissioning last May, Josh was temporarily assigned to the Naval Academy's Physical Education department until he reported to Pensacola to begin the aviation training pipeline last month.

Our hearts are heavy and with the families and friends of Ensign Watson, Airman Haitham, and Airman Apprentice Walters, who gave the ultimate sacrifice at the onset of their Naval service. 

Rest in peace, Shipmates — we have the watch.
The Mechanical Engineering faculty are heartbroken by the loss of this great young man. Many of the faculty who had Joshua (Kaleb, as he went by to many) as a student provided memories and experiences with him for a small memorial in our staff spaces. We've captured some of these below. WMAR Channel 2 news also has an interview with the Mechanical Engineering faculty for those interested in learning more of Kaleb's story.
We're proud to have been part of his life and to share some of his story.
- Prof. Stephen Graham & Commander Travis Chapman, USN, Mechanical Engineering Dept Chair & Associate Chair
Their capstone project won the Mechanical Engineering Capstone prize last year and Josh was a key member that made it happen.  Joshua's joyful spirit brought smiles and laughter to the team and made the project fun. It was a very ambitious project and about half way through I was beginning to wonder if the team could pull it off.  After months into the project, all at once the team started receiving the equipment they ordered.  From the other side of the room I heard Josh exclaim, "Well! I think this is going to be a cool project after all".  I smiled when I heard that (which turned out to be a turning point) - then with deep satisfaction I watched Josh and his team build and fire the railgun with great success.  In my years of working with midshipmen on their senior engineering design projects, Josh's railgun turned out to be one of the best I've seen. - CDR John Stevens, Capstone Instructor & Associate Chair Electrical & Computer Engineering
In the second semester of his 1/C year, I had the chance to really get to know him when he enrolled in my very challenging Solid Mechanics elective course for the Mechanical Engineering Majors.  The nature of this course is to tax and leverage student mastery of four equally challenging prerequisite courses, is purposefully taught at a graduate level, and is certainly not a choice for the meek.  But again, here he was challenging himself, pushing himself beyond his previous limits. 
In this context it was clear that the seeds that had germinated by his 3/C year, the focus, the polish, and the even-keel demeanor, had grown and coalesced into a highly capable young man who never backed down from a challenge, continually strove to do things the right way, and brought to bear his professionalism on his every task.
In the days since the news of Joshua's passing, I have reflected a great deal on these experiences.  The reports of his last act, mortally wounded yet spending his few remaining seconds focused on saving others, fill me with indescribable awe. But not surprise.  These final moments are completely consistent with who I had come to know this man to be. - Dr. Joshua Radice, Associate Professor
Josh had a real clarity of purpose.  He knew why he had chosen the Naval Academy and his sense of commitment inspired those around him.  There were times when he was struggling to balance his course work and the demands of being on the varsity rifle team, but from the beginning he was fully committed to both his academic goals and becoming the captain of the rifle team. 
He was a courageous young man that was proud to be serving his country.  My thoughts and prayers go out to all of his friends and family.  He will be deeply missed. - Dr. Andrew Smith, Professor




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