Two men worthy of honor

Published 9:44 pm Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Friday, the board of directors of the Alabama Military Hall of Honor will induct Col. Julian D. Sawyer, USAF, of Demopolis and Brigadier Gen. John W. Collins III, USA, formerly of Gallion, into their Hall of Honor.

After attending Marion Military Institute, Gen. Collins 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.

Email newsletter signup

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.

Col. Sawyer 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.

We are very proud to count these men as Marengo County natives and are happy to see them awarded for their service and dedication.