CPT George W. “Wally” Collins was killed on 16 February 1945. CPT Collins was assigned to the 77th Ordnance Bomb Disposal Squad, Ninth Air Force stationed at Keerbergen, Belgium. CPT Collins was killed while disarming a German Riegel 43 (Sprengriegel/R.Mi. 43) anti-tank mine at “Afgeslechte Dijk,” a section of road east of Steenbergen, Holland (Netherlands). The mine, which was assumed to be booby-trapped, was located near one of the 787th Anti-aircraft Artillery Automatic Weapons Battalion (semi-mobile), 50th Anti-aircraft Artillery Brigade’s gun emplacement. The mine exploded with CPT Collins taking the full blast to his face. It was not determined why the mine exploded. T/5 CPL Bruce H. Rudolph and T/5 CPL William W. Vier of the same bomb disposal detachment were slightly wounded by the explosion but did not require hospitalization. T/5 Charles W. Mounce and PVT John H. Wiley, Jr. of the 787th Anti-aircraft Artillery Battalion were immediately killed in the explosion, and PFC Roy Stump, Raymond Cline, Elbert Sanders, and Abidon Leach were injured. They all were between 25 to 50 feet from CPT Collins at the time the mine exploded. SGT William T. Dudley of same bomb disposal detachment was not injured in the blast. CPT Collins was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart Medal.
*This bio was researched and authored by SGM Mike R. Vining, USA (Retired) with supporting research from the books, Nine from Aberdeen, by Jeffrey M. Leatherwood, Ph.D.; Bomb Disposal, The Early Years of Explosive Ordnance Disposal, 1940 to 1949, by LTC Robert E. Leiendecker, USA (Retired); and Captains of Bomb Disposal 1942-1946 by T. Dennis Reece.
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