Retired July 1, 1975.
Brigadier General Richard G. Collins is vice commander of the U.S. Air Force Security Service, a major command reporting directly to the chief of staff, U.S. Air Force.
General Collins was born in 1929 in Sommers Point, N.J. He graduated from Palm Beach High School West Palm Beach, Fla., in 1948, and attended Palm Beach Junior College. He has a bachelor of arts degree in international affairs from Florida State University, 1959, and a master of arts degree from the University of Pittsburgh, 1961. He is also a graduate of the Armed Forces Staff College, 1965, and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, 1970.
General Collins entered the aviation cadet program in November 1949 and received his pilot wings and commission in December 1950 at Williams Air Force Base, Ariz. He then was assigned to the 93d Fighter Squadron, Albuquerque, N.M., and in June 1951 went to the 81st Fighter Interceptor Group, Moses Lake Air Force Base, Wash. Late in 1951 the group was deployed to Bentwaters and Shepherd's Grove, England, with the first F-86 aircraft sent to Europe. During this assignment, he served on temporary duty with the 51st Fighter Group in Korea, flying 29 combat missions over North Korea in F-86s.
In May 1954 General Collins went to Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., where he served as pilot instructor, and in 1955 was assigned as an instructor and staff officer at the U.S. Air Force Interceptor Weapons School, flying F-86D and F-102 aircraft. During this period, he attended Florida State University. In September 1960 he entered the University of Pittsburgh, majoring in public and international affairs.
General Collins went to Germany in September 1961 where he served three years as staff officer in the office of Air Intelligence at Headquarters U.S. Air Forces in Europe at Lindsey Air Station. In August 1964 he entered the Armed Forces Staff College at Norfolk, Va.
In January 1965 General Collins became deputy commander for operations for the 377th Fighter Croup at Portland International Airport, Ore. He was assigned to the 33d Tactical Fighter Wing at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., in December 1966 and served as commander of the Combat Eagle detachment preparing for the first Air Force combat employment of the TV-guided Walleye weapon.
He went to Ubon Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand, in May 1967 with the 40th Tactical Fighter Squadron, the first F-4D squadron deployed to Southeast Asia. While there, he served as chief of tactics for the 8th Tactical Fighter Wing, and flew 115 combat missions including 100 combat missions over North Vietnam, with 54 of these in the heavily defended Hanoi area.
In May 1968 General Collins was again assigned to Headquarters U.S. Air Forces in Europe, this time as chief, Tactical Fighter Branch. In July 1969 he entered the Industrial College of the Armed Forces and in June 1970 returned to the 33d Tactical Fighter Wing at Eglin Air Force Base as director of operations.
General Collins was transferred to England in November 1970 as vice commander of the 81st Tactical Fighter Wing, Royal Air Force Station Bentwaters, and in September 1971 was assigned to Headquarters Third Air Force in London as assistant director of operations. In February 1972 he went to Spain where he became commander of the 406th Tactical Fighter Wing at Zaragoza Air Base, the USAFE main base for combat bombing and gunnery training. He was transferred to Madrid in September 1972 to assume command of the 401st Tactical Fighter Wing. The 401st Wing was equipped with the F-4E Phantom aircraft in support of USAFE commitments.
General Collins served in joint duty as the chief of staff of the Defense Intelligence Agency in Washington, D.C., from November 1973 until his assignment to the U.S. Air Force Security Service as vice commander in September 1974.
His military decorations and awards include the Silver Star, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross with two oak leaf clusters, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal with 15 oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster, Presidential Unit Citation Ribbon, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Ribbon with "V" device, and the Combat Readiness Medal.