WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen and Congressmen Steny Hoyer and Anthony Brown today praised the Army’s decision to recognize bravery “in the face of evil” as demonstrated by Bowie State ROTC student and Second Lieutenant Richard W. Collins III, who was killed two days after his commissioning in 2017. The lawmakers were notified Wednesday of the Secretary of the Army’s decision to grant him an honorary promotion to First Lieutenant. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper has concurred with the recommendation.
“No family should have to endure the heartache felt by the Collins family since the tragic death of their son. This senseless loss was deeply disturbing. Securing for Second Lieutenant Collins the rightful recognition of the contributions he made as an ROTC student at Bowie State University and the impact he most certainly would have made during his military service was overdue. We do not know what would have been, but we do know that his memory will stand as a reminder of the duty, honor and sacrifice borne daily by our servicemen on and off the battlefield,” the lawmakers said. “We will continue to fight for the benefits and recognition due to Second Lieutenant Collins and his family, and will work to protect future families from such circumstances.”
“The Army considered the standards and criteria required for an honorary promotion and found that 2LT Collins displayed exemplary conduct in the performance of his duties commensurate with a first lieutenant. 2LT Collins’ life was tragically cut short by a murderer two days after his commissioning. 2LT Collins’ actions on May 20, 2017, exhibited character and exemplary conduct of an officer of a higher rank. In addition to standing firm in the face of evil, 2L T Collins was a model student and cadet at Bowie State University,” Secretary of the Army Ryan D. McCarthy wrote in a letter to lawmakers about the honorary promotion. “The Army appreciates 2LT Collins willingness to serve his country, and I offer my sincerest condolences to his family for the loss of their son. Given the circumstances, it is my honor to recommend 2LT Richard W. Collins III for an honorary promotion to first lieutenant.”