Military Wiki
John W. Collins III
Nickname Rip
Born (1921-08-16)August 16, 1921
Died November 22, 2015(2015-11-22) (aged 94)
Place of birth Demopolis, Alabama
Place of death San Antonio, Texas
Buried at Saint Andrews Episcopal Cemetery, Prairieville, Alabama
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Army
Rank Brigadier General
Battles/wars World War II
Awards Distinguished Flying Cross
Silver Star Medal with bronze oak leaf cluster
Legion of Merit with 2 bronze oak leaf clusters
Bronze Star Medal
Purple Heart
Air Medal

John Walter Collins III (16 August 1921 – 22 November 2015) was an American First Lieutenant in the United States Army during World War II. He retired as a Brigadier General.


John Collins III was born in Demopolis, Alabama 16 August 1921 to John Walter Collins and Garnette "Lyons" Collins.[1][2] His father John Walter Collins Jr. ran the general store and raised cotton and his mother was the postmaster.[2]

After graduated from Demopolis High School he attended Marion Military Institute for one year before accepting an appointment to the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York.[2] While attending the military academy he participated in baseball and football and, upon graduation in June 1943, he was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the Infantry.[2]

While serving in World War II Collins was taken prisoner by the Germans during the Battle of the Bulge on or about 21 December 1944 and remained a POW until May 1945 when a task force from Patton's Army arrived and liberated the camp.[2][3] While assigned in Manchuria, he was captured again and became a prisoner of the Chinese Communist regime.[2]

He retired from the army as a Brigadier General in 1973.[2]

After retiring from the army he spent four years working for the Greater Miami Bicentennial Organization and then, in 1977, he started working in the oil and gas industry.[2]

Collins died 22 November 2015 in San Antonio, Texas and is buried near his parents in Saint Andrews Episcopal Cemetery, Prairieville, Alabama.[1][2]


His military decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, Distinguished Flying Cross, Legion of Merits, Silver Stars, Bronze Stars, Purple Heart, the Combat Infantryman's Badge with Stars, Parachute Badge, and Air Medals. In 2009 he was inducted into the Alabama Military Hall of Honor.[2]