Albert Collins

Company C 1/22 Infantry

4th Infantry Division

KIA 09/03/66

 

Age: 21
Race: Negro
Sex: Male
Date of Birth: Aug 14, 1945
From: ATLANTA, GA
Religion: BAPTIST
Marital Status: Single

 

PFC - E3 - Army - Selective Service
4th Infantry Division
MOS: 11B10: Infantryman
Length of service 0 years
His tour began on Jul 21, 1966
Casualty was on Sep 3, 1966
In , SOUTH VIETNAM
HOSTILE, GROUND CASUALTY
GUN, SMALL ARMS FIRE
Body was recovered
 
Panel 10E - Line 66

 

 

As seen in the above passage from the 4th Infantry Division yearbook of 1967
PFC Albert Collins was killed in action while on Operation John Paul Jones in
Phu Yen Province near Tuy Hoa. Albert and Calvin D. Halford, also of 1/22 Infantry
were the first two soldiers of the 4th Infantry Division Killed in Action in Vietnam.

 

 

 

 

PFC Albert Collins' decorations

 

 

On September 3, 1966, while operating on a search and destroy mission as a member of Company C 1/22 Infantry,
near Tuy Hoa, in Phu Yen Province, PFC Albert Collins was killed when he was cut down by heavy fire
from a Viet Cong unit.

He thus became the first soldier from 1st Battalion 22nd Infantry killed in action in Vietnam,
and at the same time the first soldier from the 4th Infantry Division killed in action in Vietnam.

His name is engraved on Panel 10E line 66 of the Vietnam Memorial.

 

The mountain area near Tuy Hoa, where Albert Collins was Killed In Action.

Photo by Bob Babcock

 

 

Closeup of the area of the engagement where PFC Collins was Killed In Action.
Numerous scars of bomb craters can be seen,
where an air strike had been called in during the action.

Photo by Bob Babcock

 

 

Rubbing of Albert Collins' name from the Vietnam Memorial Wall

 

 

 

The Marietta National Cemetery, the final resting place of Albert Collins

Photo by Bob Babcock

 

 

 

The grave of Albert Collins

 

 

Every year, Bob Babcock, B Company 1/22 Infantry 1965-1967, visits the
Marietta National Cemetery, and places flowers at the grave of Albert Collins.

 

 

"Vietnam veteran Bob Babcock of Marietta places flowers in front of the grave of Albert Collins,
the first soldier from the 22nd Infantry Regiment of the 4th Division in Vietnam to die.
Babcock, who served in the same division, takes flowers to Collins' grave in the National Cemetery in Marietta
every year, though the two men never met."

Taken from the Marietta Daily Journal, Tuesday, May 28, 2002

Editor's note:

Bob Babcock is a veteran of B Company 1/22 Infantry 1965-1967.

 

A wreath honoring PFC Collins placed at his gravesite
by Bob Babcock May 30, 2005

Photo by Bob Babcock

 

 

 

The placard of the wreath, May 30, 2005

Photo by Bob Babcock

 

 

 

The grave of Albert Collins - Christmas 2013

Photo by Bob Babcock

 

 

 

Memorial Day 2014

Photo by Bob Babcock

 


While sitting at a Memorial Day ceremony at Marietta National Cemetery many years ago, I looked to my right and saw the name
'Albert Collins' on a grave marker. I was shocked - I had no idea he was buried so close to me. It drew me back to Vietnam
on 3 September 1966 when Albert was the first man killed in Vietnam in the 4th Infantry Division. My platoon was given the mission
to move to help support his company. By the time we arrived, the fight was over.

The plan was to name the 4ID base camp after the first KIA. Because the Commanding General’s name was also Collins,
the decision was made not to name it after Albert Collins. The decision was made to name it after the first officer KIA.
Sure enough, the first officer killed was West Point officer, LT Richard Collins. (Later, the camp was named after the first
Silver Star recipient - LT Mark Enari).


Each year I place a wreath on the grave of Albert Collins, although I never met him in person. That wreath is a tribute to
an American Soldier who, by rights, should have had a base camp named after him, except for him sharing the name of
his commanding general. For several years we tried to find Family members of Albert Collins so we could honor him
with an Atlanta Vietnam Veterans Business Association Memorial. But we finally abandoned the search when we found that
Albert’s mother and grandmother were both deceased and no other relatives were known.

At noon on this Memorial Day, I will be back at the Marietta National Cemetery, as I’ve been for the past 15 years or so,
to pay tribute to Albert Collins and to all others who paid the ultimate price for the freedom we all enjoy. I understand
that freedom is not free. I urge everyone reading this to take time on Memorial Day to reflect on that fact - and fly your flag.

Bob Babcock - May 2015

 

 

Grave of Albert Colllins honored for Memorial Day 2015 by Bob Babcock

 

 

 

The placard placed on the grave of Albert Collins by Bob Babcock every year

 

 

 

Grave of Albert Colllins honored for Memorial Day 2017 by Bob Babcock

 

 

 

 

Top photo of Albert Collins during Basic Training

Photo courtesy of Manuel Cazares Company A 1/22 Infantry 1966-67

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


BACK

Home | Photos | Battles & History | Current |
Rosters & Reports | Medal of Honor | Killed in Action |
Personnel Locator | Commanders | Station List | Campaigns |
Honors | Insignia & Memorabilia | 4-42 Artillery | Taps |
What's New | Editorial | Links |