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Thomas W. Collier
War: World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War
Branch: U.S. Marine Corp, U.S. Army
Unit: Recruit Depot, Parris Il, SC V-12 Detachment, Villanove College, PA (Marines), Multiple Units in Army
Highest Rank: Lieutenant Col. (Army)
Birth Year: April 30, 1927
Place of Birth: Washington, D.C.
Decorations/Citations: WWII Victory Medal, Combat Infantry Badge, Master Parachutist Badge, Legion of Merit, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Air Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters and V for Valor, National Defense Service Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster, two Bronze Star Medals, Ranger Tab, and Meritorious Service Medal


Fresh out of high school Tom enlisted in the Marine Corp in 1944. After his training at Paris Island he planned to go into officer training and was sent to Villanova to complete the required four semesters of college required prior to training. While there the war ended and he spent the rest of his time in the Marine reserves.

In 1948 he was accepted to West Point and after four years was a commissioned officer in the Army. Tom spent time in Fort Benning, Iceland, and Germany before joining Special Forces and being sent to Okinawa and ultimately Vietnam.

He served three tours of duty in Vietnam. The first two were with Special Forces where he trained native Vietnamese to fight the Viet Cong. This was actually a CIA project, and so was working out of uniform for the CIA for awhile. Tom relates a story of his helicopter being shot down while traveling back and forth from the mountains. His third tour was with an Army troop unit the 1st Cavalry Division.

Tom retired from the army in 1972, but worked in Germany as a civilian historian for awhile. In 1978 he returned to the states settling in Ann Arbor for his graduate studies. He continued on to teach history at both the University of Michigan and Eastern Michigan University. In his retirement Tom enjoys traveling and teaching continuing education classes for retirees at U of M, Eastern, and Wayne State.