LtCol Watts was born and raised in a suburb of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania called Elkins Park. He enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and attended Boot Camp in Parris Island, South Carolina in 2000 (honor graduate) while attending college at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. In 2003, he was activated as a Reservist with 6th Motor Transport Battalion and deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). After graduating with his bachelor’s degree in Aerospace Engineering, he earned his commission through the Officer Candidate Course in 2006. He subsequently completed The Basic School, then the Air Defense Control Officer Course in 2007 and was designated MOS 7210.
LtCol Watts’ first assignment to the Fleet Marine Force was at Marine Air Control Squadron 4 (MACS-4), where he served in a variety of billets including Squadron Ground Safety Officer and Tactical Air Operations Center (TAOC) Operations Officer. As 1stLt Watts, he earned all his MOS qualifications to include Senior Air Director and Weapons and Tactics Instructor. In 2010 he was promoted to Captain and served as TAOC Detachment Commander for the remainder of his tour with MACS-4. During that tour he supported over 20 INDOPACOM and CENTCOM exercises and Allies and Partners events.
In 2011, he was selected on the Commandant’s Career-Level Education Board and reported to Expeditionary Warfare School (EWS). Following EWS, he reported to MACS-2 in 2012, where he served as the TAOC Detachment Commander for two years. In 2013, he deployed to Afghanistan as the Officer in Charge for the TAOC “MISER” in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and International Security Assistance Forces. In 2014, he was the 2d Marine Aircraft Wing (2d MAW) nominee for Command and Control (C2) Officer of the year.
In 2015, Capt Watts reported to Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron 1 (MAWTS-1) where he served as the Aviation Development Tactics & Evaluation (ADT&E) Command, Control, and Communications (C3) Specialist for three and a half years. He was promoted to Major in 2016. He worked more than 30 special projects designed to enhance Aviation C3 operations for the Marine Corps and provided instruction on Marine Air Ground Task Force (MAGTF) Air Battle Planning. In 2017, he was the MAGTF Training Command nominee for C2 Officer of the year. In 2018, Maj Watts transferred to MACS-1 where he served as Squadron Executive Officer for one year.
In 2019, Maj Watts reported to the III Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF) Fires and Effects Coordination Center (FECC) where he served as the Air C2 Planner and Plans Officer. In those roles during major exercises, he served as the senior Marine liaison with 7th Fleet aboard the USS Blue Ridge and as a member of the Marine Liaison Element (MARLE) with the Joint Force Air Component Commander (JFACC) at the 613th Air Operations Center (AOC) in Hawaii. In 2021, he transferred to Marine Air Control Group 18 (MACG-18), where he served as the Group Operations Officer. In 2022, he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and transferred to 1st MAW Headquarters where he served as the Wing Air Command and Control Officer in the G-5 until 2023.
LtCol Watts is a graduate of several military schools including Senior Leaders Legal Course, Joint Air Operations Command and Control Course (JAOC2C), Air Combat Element Battle Staff Officers Course, Integrated Air and Missile Defense Course, Joint Fire Power Course, Joint Multi-Tactical Data Links Planners Course, Joint Operations and Execution Course, Joint Maritime Prepositioning Force Staff Planning Course, Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt Course, and United States Air Force Air Command and Staff College. His personal decorations include the Navy Achievement Medal, gold star in lieu of second award, and Navy Commendation Medal, gold star in lieu of fourth award.