At the time of the September 11 terrorist attacks, Staff Sergeant Stephen M. Collins, Jr., was a Marine Corps reservist and a medical student. Suddenly he had to balance the demands of his educational pursuits with his military obligations and the possibility of deployment. Though many of his colleagues and fellow students asked if he would leave the Marine Corps to focus on medical school, he says he felt a moral obligation to serve his country. He was called to active duty in 2003, and deployed to Iraq and Kuwait as a tank commander with the 8th Tank Battalion in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. In an interview conducted for Veteran’s History Project just a few months after he returned from his deployment, Collins reflected on his experience, and shared a straightforward view of his service, saying “I did my job. I did the best that I could do, and I made it back.”
We honor you, Stephen Collins Jr.