Collins, Gary Dean, SN

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 Service Photo   Service Details
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Last Rank
Seaman
Last Primary NEC
SN-0000-Seaman
Last Rating/NEC Group
Seaman
Primary Unit
1968-1968, SN-0000, Commander Naval Forces Vietnam (COMNAVFORV)
Service Years
1966 - 1968
SN-Seaman

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

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Home State
Kansas
Kansas
Year of Birth
1948
 
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Mark Collins-Family to remember Collins, Gary Dean, SN.

If you knew or served with this Sailor and have additional information or photos to support this Page, please leave a message for the Page Administrator(s) HERE.
 
Casualty Info
Home Town
Concordia
Last Address
Rural Route # 2
Jamestown, KS 66948

Casualty Date
Sep 28, 1968
 
Cause
Non Hostile- Died Other Causes
Reason
Burns
Location
Quang Tri (Vietnam)
Conflict
Vietnam War
Location of Interment
Jamestown Cemetery - Jamestown, Kansas
Wall/Plot Coordinates
42W 034

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 Unofficial Badges 

Order of the Golden Dragon Gulf of Tonkin Yacht Club


 Military Association Memberships
Vietnam Veterans Memorial
  2012, Vietnam Veterans Memorial [Verified] - Assoc. Page

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 Enlisted/Officer Basic Training
  1966, Recruit Training (San Diego, CA)
 Duty Stations
RTC (Cadre/Faculty Staff) San Diego, CAUSS Hopewell (DD-681)Naval Inshore Operations Training Center (Faculty Staff)SERE School
Headquarters, NSA Danang, Vietnam, NSA Danang, VietnamUSN River Patrol Force - Task Force 116 (TF-116)Commander Naval Forces Vietnam (COMNAVFORV)
  1966-1966, RTC (Cadre/Faculty Staff) San Diego, CA
  1966-1967, SN-0000, USS Hopewell (DD-681)
  1967-1968, SN-0000, Naval Inshore Operations Training Center (Faculty Staff)
  1968-1968, SN-0000, SERE School
  1968-1968, SN-0000, Headquarters, NSA Danang, Vietnam, NSA Danang, Vietnam
  1968-1968, SN-0000, USN River Patrol Force - Task Force 116 (TF-116)
  1968-1968, SN-0000, Commander Naval Forces Vietnam (COMNAVFORV)
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1968-1968 Vietnam War
  1968-1968 Vietnam War/Counteroffensive Phase V Campaign (68)
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
SN Collins served on a LCM (landing craft) for a short time then was assigned to a Mike Y1, a pusher boat, on September 1, 1968. The boat pushed jet fuel barges up to the Qua Viet River from Cue Vie to Don Ho. The trip was about nine miles one way and was made on the average twice a day.

On September 28, 1968, four men were killed in a fire aboard the LCM-6 they were aboard. the boat was at the mouth of the Cua Viet River when the fire and explosion in which they died occurred. According to reports, contaminated fuel had been pumped into the river. Some welding being done on a ship caused sparks to set the fire and explosion. Three sailors were killed, two were missing, and three were hospitalized.
 
The four men killed/missing in the fire aboard the LCM-6:
 
SN Gary D. Collins Jamestown, KS        KIA
MM3 David L. Dixon Medford, OR          MIA
FN David P. Halpin Watertown, NY       MIA
MM2 Joseph D. Lilly Jackson, MN          KIA

All were assigned to the Cua Viet Detachment, Naval Support Activity Danang. It appears DIXON and HALPIN were successful in abandoning the LCM but were swept to sea by the river current,
their bodies were never recovered.
   
Comments/Citation
The war in Vietnam has a very significant meaning to us,  Bob and Betty Collins. Our son, Gary Dean, was a casualty there on September 28, 1968, on the Cua Viet River. 
 
Gary was born on August 17, 1948, at St. Joseph Hospital in Concordia, Kansas. Following graduation from Jamestown High School, Gary enlisted in the Navy on what was called a minority cruise. The definition of this cruise was that you entered the Navy the day before your eighteenth birthday and were discharged the day before your twenty-first birthday. Actually, he had to leave on August 8, 1966, and was killed just after his twentieth birthday. 
 
He left by bus from Salina, Kansas to go to Kansas City, Missouri to be sworn into theNavy. From there he went to San Diego Navy Base for boot camp. Following boot camp and the initial leave at home, he was assigned to the destroyer the USS Hopewell. They sailed to the Gulf of Tonkin where they served as support to the military action there. 

We were fortunate to meet his ship when he came into San Diego at Christmas 1967. He spent time with us and relatives in the Los Angeles, California area. 
 
In June 1968, he was taken off the Hopewell and sent to a three-week survival training school. This training was to teach them to survive if taken prisoners of war. During this time they were familiarized with the Vietnamese language, money exchange, and characteristics of the people. They were taken out on the desert and had to find their way back to Freedom Village. Food was anything one could find in the desert. Occasionally "rice water" was brought out to keep them from starving. Gary told of being across the road from Freedom Village when a truck nearly backed over him. I asked why he didn't try to get out of the way when he saw it backing. His reply was that he would rather be killed than to go through what he had just been through.
 
They were also treated as actual prisoners of war by various methods. During interrogations they were slapped, harshly, on the face for failing to give more than their name and serial number.

They were placed in individual plywood boxes in a cramped sitting position. The boxes only had a small hole for ventilation. In another situation, six men were placed in a similar box. I don't remember how long they were required to be in the boxes; although I know it was dehumanizing. 

This training was stopped shortly after Gary went through it because it was deemed too harsh and cruel. There had been too many complaints in regard to the treatment.

Gary came home on leave following this training and returned to California for his departure to Vietnam. He spent a few days with my uncle and aunt at Whittier, California. They took him to Norton Air Force Base Debarkation Center for the air trip to Vietnam. 

He served on a LCM (landing craft) for a short time then was assigned to a Mike Y1, a pusher boat, on September 1, 1968. The boat pushed jet fuel barges up to the Qua Viet River from Cue Vie to Dong Ho. The trip was about nine miles one way and was made on the average twice a day.  
On September 28, 1968, they were at the mouth of the Cua Viet River when the fire and explosion in which he died occurred. According to reports, contaminated fuel had been pumped into the river. Some welding being done on a ship caused sparks to set the fire and explosion. Three sailors were killed, two were missing, and three were hospitalized. 

Our memorial for Gary was held on October 12, 1968, at the Jamestown High School with military committal at the Jamestown Cemetery. 

Aboard an LCM-6 (Mike-6) pushing supplies between Cua Viet and Dong Ha.  Contaminated fuel being unloaded at sea, when wind changed and blew jet fuel into mouth of Cua Viet river where a welder ignighted it killing 4 including Gary.
   
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