Marengo natives to be inducted into Alabama Hall of Honor

Published 11:37 am Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The board of directors of the Alabama Military Hall of Honor have selected for induction Col. Julian D. Sawyer, USAF, of Demopolis and Brigadier Gen. John W. Collins III, USA of San Antonio, Texas.

The announcement was made in June by director Col. John Gibler.

The induction ceremony will take place at the Hall of Honor, located on the historic campus of Marion Military Institute on Friday, Oct. 30, at 10:30 a.m., followed by a parade by the Corps of Cadets on the Givhan Parade Field.

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Anyone interested is invited to attend these events. A luncheon, by reservation only, will follow the parade.

Gen. Collins was born in Gallion in 1921.

After attending Marion Military Institute, he was appointed to the United States Military Academy.

Commissioned a second lieutenant in the infantry, on June 1, 1943, he joined the 106th Infantry Division and served with them in Europe.

During the Korean War, he served as a battalion commander in the 45th and 2nd Infantry Divisions.

In Vietnam, while commander and deputy commander 1st Brigade 101st Airborne Division, he was awarded two Silver Stars, the Distinguished Flying Cross, Purple Heart and Combat Infantryman’s Badge with star for his heroic actions during combat.

After retiring from the Army, Gen. Collins worked in the oil and gas industry; he currently resides in San Antonio, Texas.

Col. Sawyer was born in 1928 in Mobile and entered the U.S. Air Force in 1946.

After flight training, he served in aviation assignments in the U.S., Europe and Vietnam.

On Sept. 24, 1959 at Myrtle Beach Air Force Base, when an F100F aircraft crash-landed and burst into flames, then-Capt. Sawyer rushed to the scene with complete disregard for his own safety and assisted in saving the injured crewman.

For his action, he was awarded the Soldier’s Medal.

During three tours in Vietnam as a wing commander and fighter pilot, he was awarded the Silver Star, four Distinguished Flying Crosses and 22 air medals.

Throughout his Vietnam service, he provided extensive close air support for U.S. Army ground forces in contact.

Col. Sawyer and his wife, Kay, reside in Demopolis, where he is currently director of the Demopolis Municipal Airport.