Richard Glen Collins

Cullum: 26040

Class: 1965

Cadet Company: M1

Date of Birth: January 15, 1943

Date of Death: November 5, 1966 -- in Vietnam from hostile action.

Age: 23 years, 10 months and 21 days young. - View or Post a Eulogy

Interred: West Point Cemetery, West Point, NY

   Location: Sect XXXIV, Row D, Grave 154

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Richard CollinsTHERE 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.
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