Robert Knapp Collins

United States Marine Corps
24 May 1944 - 08 December 1965
Eugene, Oregon
Panel 04E Line 001



Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Robert Knapp Collins

11 Jun 2000

Robert was a very good friend in Okinawa and Vietnam.

I learned of his death years later. We were both on the same
Forward Observer team together, but were split up
when I caught malaria and was sent to Nha Trang, 8th Army Field
Hospital in 1965.

He is sadly missed. I would love to hear from his family.

Semper Fi,

27 Feb 2001

We spent a lot of time together, sure miss ya old buddy.
I think about you all the time and remember the fun we had hanging out together.
I will see ya again one day.

Bob Bilstein

16 Feb 2004

South Eugene High School, Eugene, Oregon will have a Vietnam Memorial dedication Saturday, May 28, 2005 at 2 PM in remembrance of our classmates

* LtCol William R. Andrews, 433rd TFS (09/06/1974)
* LCpl William A. Beckwith, 3rd Bn, 4th Marines (07/04/1968)
* SGT James W. Cartwright, C Co, 3rd Bn, 12th Infantry (05/23/1967)
* Cpl Robert K. Collins, C Btry, 1st Bn, 12th Marines (12/08/1965)
* SP4 Arthur A. Erwin, A Co, 4th Bn, 503rd Infantry (07/10/1967)
* SGT Carlton C. Gray, C Co, 158th AHB (05/18/1970)
* PFC Carl F. Louvring, E Trp, 17th Cavalry (05/13/1967)
* LCpl Dennis E. Mickelson, A Co, 3rd Recon Bn (12/28/1968) (Silver Star)
* PFC William G. Muir, B Co, 3rd Bn, 8th Infantry (11/11/1967)
* PFC Kreg A. Viestenz, C Co, 1st Bn, 5th Cavalry (09/18/1968)

Additional information on these men is available in the Eugene, Oregon, Register-Guard article republished here.

For information pertaining to this event contact

Bruce Dyer - Class of "66"
Vietnam 69-70

27 Sep 2004

08 December 1965 ... I was there that day ...

From a fellow Marine,
Gerald R. Mollohan
Forward Observer, C/1/12

A Note from The Virtual Wall

On 17 November 1965 the 1st VC Regiment overran Hiep Duc District Headquarters, prompting a vicious fight before ARVN forces recaptured the town on 19 Nov. As a result, the US and ARVN commanders decided on a joint operation in the Que Son Valley-Hiep Duc Valley area. The US portion of the effort was termed Operation HARVEST MOON. The concept of operations had ARVN forces moving west up the Que Son Valley, while Marine units would be positioned as blocking and reaction forces.

The joint operation kicked off on 08 Dec with the 11th ARVN Ranger Battalion moving west through the Que Son Valley on the Thang Binh-Hiep Duc road. As the battalion approached Hill 43, about 7 kilometers east-southeast of Que Son, it was hit by the 70th VC Battalion, with the Rangers losing nearly one third of their unit in the first fifteen minutes of battle. A four-man artillery Forward Observer team from C Battery, 1/12th Marines, was with the ARVN Rangers; three of the four Marines were killed in the action:

  • 2ndLt David J. Richtsteig, Cedar City, UT;
  • Cpl Robert K. Collins, Eugene, OR; and
  • LCpl Harry C. Smith, York, PA.
Although Collins' and Smith's bodies were recovered, 2ndLt Richtsteig was missing and believed captured. He was continued (and promoted) in MIA status until the Secretary of the Navy approved a Presumptive Finding of Death on 22 Jan 1974, almost a year after the POWs came home. On 30 Sep 1974 the remains of a US serviceman were repatriated, and on 14 Feb 1975 the Department of Defense announced the identification of the remains as those of Major David Richtsteig.

Viet Fighting Claims 2nd Eugene Man

     Robert Knapp Collins, 21-year-old Marine corporal, is the second Eugene resident to be killed in action in Viet Nam.
     Collins' parents were notified Saturday evening that he was killed last Wednesday.
     He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Richard L. Collins of 1631 E. 26th Ave. The elder Collins is secretary and budget director of the State Board of Higher Education.
     Young Collins was a forward spotter with a field artillery unit. The notification his parents received - through the Eugene Marine Corps Reserve unit and by telegram - gave no indication of the circumstances of his death, other that it occurred in "action against hostile forces."
     Collins became the 14th Oregon man killed in Viet Nam war.
     He was killed near the town of Que Son, between Da Nang and Chu Lai. Marine forces have been engaged in heavy fighting with the Viet Cong in that area which is the northern part of South Viet Nam in the past week.
     Collins was a 1963 graduate of South Eugene High School. He entered the Marines soon after graduation and would have completed his three-year enlistment next June. He had been in Viet Nam since May.
     In addition to his parents, Collins is survived by a sister, Kathy, 18, a University of Oregon freshman.
     A memorial service has been set for10:30 a.m. on 21 Dec (1965) at First Congregational Church. Collins' body is to be sent home some time later.
     His parents said that those who wish may make donations in Collins' memory to the First Congregational Church Memorial Fund.

Eugene Register-Guard, Eugene OR, Monday, 13 Dec 1965
Courtesy of
Darilee Bednar
Faces from the Wall

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
a buddy,

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 11 Jun 2000
Last updated 01/11/2008