William Albert Collier – Brigadier General, United States Army

William Albert Collier (1896-1984)

Born in Bristol, England on January 2, 1896.

Retired in August 1954. Decorations included the Distinguished Service Medal, Silver Star, three Legions of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross, three Bronze Stars, eight Air Medals and two Commendation Ribbons.

Died on September 24, 1984.

Courtesy of William C. Collier: January 2008:

William Albert Collier was born in Bristol, England January 2, 1896.  His family migrated to the United States on 31 August 1907 and settled in Boston, Massachusetts. He attended Boston area public schools and was active in the Episcopal Church.  William Collier enlisted in Company K, 5th Infantry Regiment, Massachusetts National Guard on 7 December 1914.  He attended and successfully completed, as a cadet, the Massachusetts National Guard Officer Training School, in 1916.  Upon completion, he was transferred to Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 1st Massachusetts Field Artillery.  He served as Sergeant Bugler, due to his being underage for commission, with the Regiment when it was ordered to duty on the Mexican Border in 1916.

15 August 1917, He was appointed a 2nd Lieutenant in the Infantry Section, Officer’s Reserve Corps of the Army of the United States and was assigned to the Machine Gun Company, 47th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division. He accompanied the Regiment overseas to France and participated as a Platoon Leader and Company Commander in the Champagne-Merne, Aisne-Marne, ST. Mihiel, Meuse-Argonne, and Defensive Sector Campaigns during World War I.  He then served with the 47th Infantry Regiment during the Army of Occupation and returned to the United States to Camp Dodge, Iowa.  In 1919, He went with the Regiment to Gary, Indiana during the steel strikes when martial law was declared.

In 1920-1924, the then Captain Collier was assigned as the Regimental Operations Officer, 7th US Infantry Regiment, which was stationed at Vancouver Barracks and Camp Lewis, Washington. During this period he was instrumental in the development of the 7th US Infantry Regiment’s Distinctive Unit Insignia. In 1924, he was assigned as a student at the Company Officers Course, the Infantry School, Fort Benning, Georgia. At the completion of the Company Officer’s Course the then Captain Collier was assigned as an instructor at the Infantry School from 1925-1929.

In 1929-1933, he was assigned to the 15th US Infantry Regiment in Tientsen, China where he served as a company and battalion commander. In 1933 he returned to the United States to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas where he attended the US Army Command and General Staff College. After graduation from the Staff College in 1935, he was assigned as the Brigade Operations Officer and Brigade Executive Officer for the 2nd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division at Fort Ontario, Oswego, New York.

The then Major Collier attended The Army War College, Washington, D.C. 1935-1937. After graduation from the War College he was assigned as Assistant Chief of Staff, G-1, I Corps Area at Boston, Massachusetts from 1937-1941. As a Lieutenant Colonel and Colonel, he was assigned as the Assistant Director of the Infantry Board at Fort Benning, Georgia.  In 1942, Colonel Collier was assigned as the Chief of Staff, 78th Infantry Division, Camp Butner, North Carolina.  Soon thereafter, Colonel Collier was reassigned as Chief of Staff, IV Armored Corps (under the command of Walton H. Walker) which served in the California Desert and Fort Campbell, Kentucky.  In 1943, the IV Armored Corps was redesignated as the XX Corps and was stationed in England, France and Germany during World War II.  In November 1944, Colonel Collier was promoted to Brigadier General.

General Collier then served as The Chief of Staff for the Eighth Service Command in Dallas, Texas and Chief of Staff, Fifth Army, Chicago, Illinois. In 1948 he was assigned as the Deputy Chief of Staff, U.S. Army Forces in Seoul, Korea before being assigned as the Commander, Kobe Base, Japan. In 1950, when the Korean War broke out, he was assigned as Deputy Chief of Staff Eighth Army with the duty position of Combat Chief of Staff in Korea serving under Generals Walton Walker, Matthew Ridgeway, James Van Fleet and Mark Clark. He was later reassigned as Deputy G-4, General Headquarters, Far East Command in Tokyo, Japan until 1953.

General Collier’s last tour of duty was as the Executive Officer, Review Board Council, Office of the Secretary of the Army until he retired in August 1954. After retiring from the Army, General Collier served as a volunteer for the American Red Cross as the Fairfax County, Virginia, Chapter Chairman and the Red Cross Eastern Area Disaster Consultant until the 1980s.  General Collier died 24 September 1984 in Springfield, Illinois.


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