Sgt. Watson recovers from grenade blast in Iraq |

Sgt. Watson recovers from grenade blast in Iraq

LORY POUNDERsummit daily newsSummit County, CO Colorado

FRISCO – Since waking up in the hospital from an attack in the Diyala Province of Iraq, Army Staff Sgt. Rich Watson is hurting, but in good spirits.”The concussion is still pretty serious, and they’re taking it very seriously,” said his mom, Sharon Jones-Bird, of Frisco.Doctors are keeping a close watch on Watson, a decorated solider already in possession of a Purple Heart who is nearing the end of his second tour in Iraq. Instead of being sent back out, he is monitoring the radio at the base in the province of Diyala, his mom said.Watson was injured about two weeks ago when a rocket-propelled grenade landed within feet of him and two other soldiers. The blast knocked him to the ground and when he woke up on the pavement, he saw one of his men being shot at in the street. After pulling him out of the “kill zone,” he took cover behind a Stryker Armored Vehicle and passed out, waking up in the hospital, his parents said.And now even though Watson is cracking jokes and has an upbeat attitude, he doesn’t like being away from his troops, said his mom, who is a bit relieved he’s on the base recovering instead of out in the field.Jones-Bird and her husband Jerry Bird have had a stressful year worrying about their son. The family is looking forward to their reunion in June as Watson’s second year of fighting comes to an end.”He’s looking forward to coming home in a couple months to go fishing and be with his family,” Jones-Bird said.Watson and his wife, Tonya, who is staying in Texas with her family, will soon be back together with their three young children. But before that happens, on Memorial Day at Dillon Cemetery, Jones-Bird will be reading a speech her son wrote. “He wants to thank everyone for their prayers and good wishes and good thoughts,” Jones-Bird said. “He is a firm believer in that.”Lory Pounder can be reached at (970) 668-4628, or at

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