WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Congressman Steny H. Hoyer (MD-05), U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Congressman Anthony G. Brown (MD-04) announced that they secured provisions in the NDAA Conference Report to provide the family of Lt. Richard W. Collins, III with the benefits they are due following his death. Lt. Collins was a Bowie State University ROTC Graduate when he was murdered in May 2017. Both the House and Senate are expected to pass the NDAA Conference Report in the coming days.
Since his death, the Maryland Congressional Delegation has fought to secure an honorary posthumous promotion for Lt. Collins and ensure Lt. Collins’ family received the benefits they were due. In 2019, the House and Senate passed legislation introduced by the Members to ensure that an ROTC graduate who dies between commissioning and their first assignment is treated as having served in the military for the purpose of death benefits. Unfortunately, the bill as-adopted applied only to future cases. The amendments secured by the Members in this year’s NDAA Conference Report will ensure that the Collins family receives the benefits of this legislation.
“Providing Lt. Collins’ family with the support and respect that they deserve after the loss of their son was paramount to Team Maryland,” said Senator Cardin. “I am grateful that we were able to work together as a delegation to bring some level of closure to this heartbreaking and senseless loss.”
“For more than three years, our Delegation has fought tirelessly to ensure Lt. Richard Collins receives the recognition and honor he deserves following his tragic murder,” said Congressman Hoyer. “The benefits included in the NDAA Conference Report are an important final step for the Collins family, and I hope bring some closure as they grieve the loss of a very special young man. My thoughts continue to be with Rick, Dawn, and the entire Collins family as we approach what would have been Lt. Collins’ 27th birthday.”
“Lt. Richard Collins’ tragic death has left a void that can never be filled, but I’m hopeful this action brings the Collins family some peace of mind – finally providing the recognition and benefits they’re due. After our work advocating on behalf of the Collins family for the last three years, I’m glad to see the Congress take this important step,” said Senator Van Hollen.
“Since day one, I’ve been fighting for the family of Lt. Collins, his memory and to deliver justice. After awarding Lt. Collins his due honors, I am proud that this year’s NDAA ensures his family receives their due benefits,” said Congressman Brown. “The loss of a son, of a soldier and a promising young leader such as Lt. Collins is a tragedy. The example he set and the lives he touched will endure. My hope is these benefits help Lt. Collins’ family find closure and peace.”