GEN Joseph Lawton Collins

GEN Joseph Lawton Collins

Birth
Algiers, Orleans Parish, Louisiana, USA
Death 12 Sep 1987 (aged 91)
Washington, District of Columbia, District of Columbia, USA
Burial Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, USA
Plot Section 30, Site 422
Memorial ID 4633 · View Source
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United States World War II Army General. He was the son of an Irish immigrant who had served as a Union drummer boy in the American Civil War and the nephew of Martin Behrman who was the mayor of New Orleans from 1904 to 1920 and again from 1925 until his death on December 1, 1926. Behrman used his influence to gain Collins an alternate appointment to West Point. He took up his place at West Point and graduated 35th in his class of 139 in 1917. He joined the United States Army and was commissioned in the infantry but disappointed that he did not get sent to Europe during the during the World War One. He became an instructor in the US Army College and made an impression on General George Marshall. After the beginning of World War Two, he was appointed chief of staff in the new 6th Corps Headquarters in Birmingham, Alabama. After Pearl Harbor, he became chief of staff of the Hawaiian Department. In February 1942, he was promoted to brigadier general and three months later was placed in command of the 25th Infantry. He and his troops relieved the Marines on Guadalcanal. He took part in the attack on Kokumbona, in January 1943 and he gained his nickname during this period in the Pacific, from his Divisional HQ’s code name ‘Lightning.’ General Douglas MacArthur considered him too young to be a three-star General and Marshall arranged for him to join Dwight Eisenhower in Britain. He was given command of the 7th Corps and during the D-Day landings led his men in securing Utah Beach. He led the 7th Corps and made steady progress taking Cherbourg and after being held up at St Lo, he broke through German lines and was able to help General George Patton and the 3rd Army in Brittany. With France liberated, he and the 7th Corps moved into Nazi Germany through the Aachen Gap. After encountering stubborn resistance from the German Army, he eventually got into the Ruhr and took Cologne on March 11, 1945. With heavy fighting at Paderborn, he defeated General Walter Model and his army of 300,000 men. Promoted to lieutenant general in April 1945, it is said that German generals considered him to be the best United States corps commander in Europe. After the defeat of Germany, he became chief of staff of the Army Ground Forces but in December 1945, he was given the post as the US Army Chief of Information. He remained in Europe after the war and in 1947, he was appointed deputy chief of staff to General Dwight D. Eisenhower. He remained in this position when Eisenhower was succeeded by General Omar Bradley in February 1948. Promoted to full general in 1948 the following year he replaced Bradley as Chief of Staff of the US Army. He also served as the US representative on the NATO Standing Group. After retiring from the United States Army in 1956, he wrote his memoirs, “Lightning Joe: An Autobiography” (1979).

Bio by: Glendora



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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 27 Feb 1999
  • Find A Grave Memorial 4633
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for GEN Joseph Lawton Collins (1 May 1896–12 Sep 1987), Find A Grave Memorial no. 4633, citing Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .