John A. Collins – Chaplain (Major General), United States Air Force


Retired Dec. 1, 1985.   Died May 7, 2003.

Chaplain (Major General) John A. Collins was chief of chaplains, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C. As a member of the special staff of the chief of staff, he advises on all matters that pertain to the religious and moral welfare of Air Force personnel. He is also responsible for establishing an effective total chaplain program that will meet the religious needs of all members of the Air Force.

Chaplain Collins was born in Boston in 1931 where he attended parochial school. He graduated from St. Mary’s College, Erie, Pennsylvania, in 1950; completed studies at Mount St. Alphonsus Seminary, Esopus, N.Y.; and was ordained a priest in the Redemptorist Order, June 17, 1956.

His civilian assignment was to the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Bronx, N.Y. Chaplain Collins preached college retreats and parish missions in the northeastern United States. He was also vocation director for his order.

Chaplain Collins entered active military service in May 1960. Within the United States he has served at Otis Air Force Base, Massachusetts; Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi; Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota; Reese Air Force Base, Texas; and Patrick Air Force Base, Florida. His overseas assignments were Ramey Air Force Base, Puerto Rico; Karamursel Common Defense Installation, Turkey; and Royal Air Force Station Lakenheath, England.

Returning from England in 1975, Chaplain Collins was assigned as an instructor and plans and programs officer at the Air Force Chaplain School, Air University, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala. In July 1977 Chaplain Collins was assigned to the chief of chaplains office in the Professional Division. After one year he moved to the Personnel Division and became a plans and programs officer. He served in that capacity until August 1980 when he was selected as the Air Force’s deputy chief of chaplains. Chaplain Collins assumed his last duties in August 1982.

His military decorations and awards include the Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award ribbon and National Defense Service Medal. Chaplain Collins has served four years on the advisory council to the Military Vicar, Terence Cardinal Cooke. In March 1980 he become the chairman of the action committee to the advisory council. He is the first member of a Catholic religious order to be selected as chief of chaplains by any of the military services.

He was promoted to Major General August 1, 1982, with date of rank May 1, 1979.


  • VETERAN SERVICE DATES: 04/05/1960 – 11/30/1985
  • DATE OF BIRTH: 09/17/1931
  • DATE OF DEATH: 05/07/2003
  • DATE OF INTERMENT: 06/03/2003

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