North Carolina, USA
|Death: ||Mar. 14, 2010|
A "Coast Guard Legend" died Sunday, March 14, according to a news release from the U.S. Coast Guard. Admiral T.W. Allen, Commandant, United States Coast Guard, sent the following message to notify the field. "It is with deep regret that I announce the passing of Lieutenant Herbert M. Collins, USCG (Ret.), a legendary coast guardsman and the last surviving crewmember of the all-African American Pea Island Life Saving Station. Lieutenant Collins succumbed to cancer on Sunday evening, March 14th, surrounded by family and friends.
Lieutenant Collins service to the Coast Guard and our nation alone is significant, especially in light of the challenges that African Americans faced as the service was integrated. Yet his legacy runs even deeper in our collective heritage as he was also the grand nephew of Dorman Pugh, one of seven Gold Life Saving Medal recipients from the Pea Island rescue of the crew of the stricken schooner E.S. Newman in 1896.
When Lieutenant Collins retired in 1976, he and his family set the bar for the longest continuous family service in the Coast Guard, a record that began with his grandfather, Joseph H. Berry, in 1880.
Born in 1921 in Manteo, North Carolina, Lieutenant Collins enlisted in the Coast Guard and attended boot camp in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. First assigned to the cutter Tallapoosa in Savannah, Collins served as a mess attendant.
He then served at stations from Florida to Virginia, including aboard cutter Mendota in Norfolk, Va, alongside renowned author and Coast Guardsman, Alex Haley. Lieutenant Collins then transferred to the all-African American Life Saving Station at Pea Island where he served as a surfman for the duration of World War II.
He and his fellow surfmen carried out vital search and rescue responsibilities and responded to a distressed ship that had been hit by a torpedo between the Pea Island and Chicamacomico Coast Guard Stations.
In 1947, Lieutenant Collins ended an historic era in Coast Guard history as he handed over the keys when the Pea Island Station was decommissioned. He later received his commission and was promoted to the rank of lieutenant before retiring in 1976.
After serving in the Coast Guard, Lieutenant Collins continued to be an outstanding advocate for our service. He shared his personal experiences and highlighted the proud history of African Americans who have served." The extraordinary story of the heroes of Pea Island is the subject of a new film titled The Rescue Men, to which Lieutenant Collins contributed.
A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. on March 26, 2010 at the Hines-Rinaldi Funeral Home located at 11800 New Hampshire Avenue, Silver Spring, Md. Details of interment remain to be determined.
The Coastland Times
Sunday, March 21, 2010
Herbert Malachi Collins (retired Lieutenant U.S. Coast Guard) the last keeper to close the historic Pea Island Lifesaving Station died on March 14, in Olney, Md.
A committal service will be held at Haven Creek Church Cemetery in the Collins Family Section at 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 24.
Gallop Funeral Services, Inc. was entrusted with local arrangements.
Haven Creek Baptist Church Cemetery
North Carolina, USA
Created by: Amy Cyprych
Record added: Apr 28, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 51754009
C. L. Roth
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