Richard Glen Collins

Company A 1/22 Infantry

4th Infantry Division

KIA 11/05/66

 

 

Army - 1LT - O2

Age: 23
Race: Caucasian
Sex: Male
Date of Birth Jan 15, 1943
From: ALTADENA, CA
Religion: EPISCOPAL, ANGLICAN
Marital Status: Married

1LT - O2 - Army - Regular
MOS: 1542: Infantry Unit Commander
Length of service 1 years
His tour began on Jul 21, 1966
Casualty was on Nov 5, 1966
In , SOUTH VIETNAM
HOSTILE, GROUND CASUALTY
GUN, SMALL ARMS FIRE
Body was recovered

 

First Lieutenant Richard G. Collins' decorations

 

 

 

 

LT Richard Collins on board the USAT General Nelson Walker, heading for Vietnam 1966

Photo courtesy of Loretta and Lindley Hubbard

 

 

 

 

 

On November 5, 1966, while participating in Operation Paul Revere IV, with Company A 1/22 Infantry,
LT Richard Collins was killed by small arms fire from a dug in North Vietnamese unit,
in the Plei Trap Valley at grid reference YA700532, about 16 kilometers west of Plei Djereng airfield.
A graduate of West Point Class of 1965, LT Collins became the first officer of 1st Battalion 22nd Infantry
killed in action in Vietnam, and at the same time the first officer from the 4th Infantry Division
killed in action in Vietnam.

His name is engraved on Panel 12E line 27 of the Vietnam Memorial.

 

 

Richard Collins' offfical listing in The Howtizer, USMA yearbook 1965

Courtesy of Michael G. Arden, USMA Library, West Point

 

 

LT Richard Collins in Vietnam at 3-Tango firebase 1966
Possibly the last picture ever taken of him

 

 


THERE ARE FEW MEN who ever find that position in life which is tailored perfectly to their catalogue of strengths,
talents, and inclinations. And within that occupation rare are the men whose performances correspond directly in excellence
to the magnitude of the challenge. Dick Collins—Dick of the grizzly-like strength and boyish countenance—was such a man.
As a dynamic leader of troops he was unsurpassed in natural ability; as a man, we, his relatives and friends,
mourn his incomprehensible loss.

Dick was born in Long Beach, California, on 15 January 1943. From the pleasant recollections of his youth, which we would
often hear late into the night, anyone would say that those years were warm. Dick attended St. Johns Military Academy in Wisconsin,
where he manifested a fierce price in the academy which had stimulated his interests in literature, philosophy and athletics.
There must have been mutual admiration present, as Dick was a wrestling, track, and football star as well as a fine scholar at St. Johns.
When the time arrived to select a college, Dick was determined to seek West Point. He entered the Academy directly from high school.

The years at West Point were a bit lengthy for Dick; the shortest days were those spent conversing with friends, reading and
discussing philosophy or literature, and engaging in athletics. Dejection and pessimism were definitely not among his characteristics,
as anyone could determine by listening to a typical mirth-filled evening in Dick’s room. Moods of quiet introspection were his at times,
as one might expect of a man so intensely interested in poetry, prose, and philosophy. While he was uncertain concerning
the degree to which he would enjoy an Army career, he had not yet experienced the thrill of a command.

Shortly after graduation, and after a veritable cyclone of a courtship, Dick became Dick and Linda Collins. Typical Irish
fervidness of devotion and sentimentality were present in waves. Dick, the supremely proud and happy husband, had worlds more
direction and rounder edges, but not so round as to remove his adventuresome spirit. In May 1966, Michael Patrick, a fine,
hardy broth of a lad, was born to perhaps the proudest parents in the Western Hemisphere.

Dick, as a platoon leader, was a study in joy and competence. Here his understanding of men, charging spirit, athletic prowess,
and rational thinking had an opportunity for full exercise—an opportunity that affected Dick like a pocket of cool air on a sweltering day.
His superb leadership ability was readily apparent to all who served with him—particularly his subordinates.

He prepared his platoon for Vietnam and went with it to the Highlands in the summer of 1966. The beauty and serenity of that country
impressed him, and his numerous letters home dwelt upon that as well as discussions of the war and men in combat.
This man of action and reasoning would have thought his death by sniper fire one morning in November to be a tragic mistake,
an error to be immediately rectified. There were just too many things to be done, too many things planned for the future
to allow this disruption.

Dick Collins’ vibrant nature, with its almost tangible presence, is, and will be, sorely missed. I think Dick in reversed positions
would have reacted not with severe depression, but rather with pride of past acquaintance and severe regret at the tragic brevity
of that association. He is survived by his wife Linda, a son Michael, his parents, three brothers, his sister, and a host of friends.

A Friend

From the US Military Academy website

 

Dick Collins' personal display, showing his US Military Academy
graduation ring at the bottom

Courtesy of Linda Collins, by way of Loretta Hubbard and Don Gertenrich

 

 

 

 

 

 

Burial:
United States Military Academy Post Cemetery
West Point
Orange County
New York, USA

 

The grave of LT Richard Collins
in the cemetery at West Point

 

 

Glen Collins, the father of Richard Collins.

Glen Collins, a Naval Aviator, was Killed In Action in WW2.

 

 

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An antique Shako cap plate for St. John's Military Academy
The Academy was founded in 1884.

 

 

Richard Collins attended the St. John's Northwestern Military Academy in Delafield, Wisconsin, and graduated in 1961.
From there he entered the US Military Academy at West Point. His name is inscribed on the Wall of Honor at St. John's.
The Wall of Honor names and commemorates Academy men who gave their lives for the United States in all wars since the 20th Century.
Richard was also given the Honored Athlete Award (posthumously) in the 2012 reunion of the Old Boys Alumni Association of St. John's.

 

The Wall of Honor at St. John's Military Academy

Richard Collins' name is inscribed on the right panel.

 

 

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Top photo courtesy of Michael G. Arden, USMA Library, West Point

 

 

 

 

 

 


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