William Albert Collier
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.
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, Officerís 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 Regimentís 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 Officerís 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 Sŏul, 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.
During the evening of 6 July General Walker telephoned Col. William A. Collier at Kobe and asked him to report to him the next morning at Yokohama. When Collier arrived at Eighth Army headquarters the next morning General Walker told him that Eighth Army was taking over command of the military operations in Korea, and that he, Walker, was flying to Korea that afternoon but was returning the following day. Walker told Collier he wanted him to go to Korea as soon as possible and set up an Eighth Army headquarters, that for the present Col. Eugene M. Landrum, his Chief of Staff, would remain in Japan, and that he, Collier, would be the Eighth Army combat Chief of Staff in Korea until Landrum could come over later.
General Walker and Colonel Collier had long been friends and associated in various commands going back to early days together at the Infantry School at Fort Benning. They had seen service together in China in the 15th Infantry and in World War II when Collier was a member of Walker's IV Armored Corps and XX Corps staffs. After that Collier had served Walker as Chief of Staff in command assignments in the United States. Colonel Collier had served in Korea in 1948 and 1949 as Deputy Chief of Staff and then as Chief of Staff of United States Army forces there. During that time he had come to know the country well.
Two days later the ROK 23d Regiment gave way and streamed south. The KMAG advisers considered the situation grave. In response to an inquiry from Colonel Collier of Eighth Army, Colonel Emmerich
sent the following message:
General Collierís 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.