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Above and Beyond the Call of Duty: Gilbert George Collier

In 1930, Gilbert George Collier was born in Hunter, Arkansas. However, for most of his growing up years, he lived in La Grue.

When he was twenty he had big plans for his future including marrying the girl of his dreams-Peggy Connelly. This he did May 27, 1950. Later he enlisted in the US Army-Fortieth Infantry Division, 223 Infantry Regiment, Company F. By the time he was shipped off to Korea, Collier had achieved the rank of corporal.

July 19, 1953 Collier was out on a six-man patrol in Tutayon, Korea. It was a dark and rainy night, thus Collier could not see the road in front of him. As he led his patrol into the darkness, Collier slipped and fell off of a steep ledge. Second Lieutenant Richard S. Agnew moved forward to investigate Collier’s plight, but he too fell off the ledge next to Collier. Both were wounded in the fall-Collier had seriously injured his back and Agnew his ankle. Because neither could move, they ordered their patrol to move forward without them. Even though Second Lieutenant Agnew could have hobbled along with the group, he instead chose to stay behind and help Collier. Somehow they both managed to crawl to the other side of the valley where they intended to hide until night when they could move back to their base. While they were waiting for nightfall, they encountered a six-man Communist patrol. Bullets immediately began flying as Collier took up his weapon and began firing into the group keeping them at bay. To draw fire away from Agnew, Collier crawled away. Once he had distracted them from capturing his friend, Collier managed to kill two more Communists with his bayonet forcing the rest of the enemy to flee. Shortly after the conclusion of this episode, Collier and Agnew were rescued by an American patrol who finally took them to an aid station. Sadly, however, Collier died not long after he reached the station.

January 12, 1955 Gilbert G. Collier was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his uncommon valor in Korea. It was received for him by his young widow-Peggy Connelly Collier.

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