Roland H. Collins, age 90, died at the College Station Medical Center, Tuesday, September 11, 2012. Husband to Virginia A. Collins of Bryan and son of the late Leroy and Iola (Daggett) Collins, he was born in Gloucester, Massachusetts, in October, 1921. Roland had resided in Bryan, Texas since 2007.
Following graduation from Gloucester High School, Roland received degrees from Boston University, Keystone College and the University of Illinois.
Enlisting in the United States Marines in 1939, then commissioned as a Lieutenant in 1942, he was one of seventeen officers who trained the first Marine Corps Woman’s Reserve (MCWR) officer candidates at Mount Holyoke College. Roland served with distinction during World War II as a rifle company commander (L/3/7) with the First Marine Division in the Pacific. For his actions during the Battle of Okinawa, Captain Collins was awarded the Navy Cross medal for combat valor, in addition to two Purple Heart medals for wounds received. After the end of the war, his unit was deployed to Northern China, tasked with disarming and repatriating former Japanese soldiers. As a “China Marine” Captain Collins personally led the relief force which rescued the First Marine Division commanding general after his train was stopped and fired on by Chinese insurgents.
Upon returning to the United States, after briefly serving in the newly formed United States Air Force, he embarked on his career with the United States Army. Retiring from the Army as a Colonel in 1973, his military career encompassed service with the Marine Infantry, Army Armored Division, Army Chemical Corps, Army Combat Intelligence, Pentagon Joint Chiefs of Staff, and two tours of duty in Vietnam.
Roland is survived by his wife of 64 years, Virginia, daughter, Sheryda Collins and Mark T. Stephens, her longtime companion, of Burke, VA., son Keith and wife Ursula, and grandson, Daniel, of Claremont, CA, and son Jeffrey and wife Allison, grandchildren Clare, Sarah, Anna, Jeffrey Jr. and John of College Station, TX and daughter Laura and husband Jacob Merciez, grandchildren Rebecca and Joseph of Fairfax, VA.
Colonel Collins will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors. A local service will be held at the Carriage Inn, 4235 Booneville Road, Bryan Texas on Saturday, September 15, 2012 at 1:00PM. 979-731-1300
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