Collier, Gilbert George, Sgt Fallen
 
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Last Rank
Sergeant
Last Service Branch
Infantry
Last Primary MOS
4745-Rifleman
Last MOS Group
Infantry (Enlisted)
Last Unit
1951-1953, 223rd Infantry Regiment (Combat Arms)
Service Years
1951 - 1953



Sergeant



Three Overseas Service Bars


 Last Photo   Personal Details 


Home State
Arkansas
Arkansas
Year of Birth
1930
 
Casualty Info
Home Town
Hunter
Last Address
Tichnor, AR

Casualty Date
Jul 20, 1953
 
Cause
Hostile, Died of Wounds
Reason
Other Cause
Location
Korea
Conflict
Korean War
Location of Interment
Not Specified
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

 Official Badges 

Infantry Shoulder Cord


 Unofficial Badges 



 Photo Album   (More...


 Ribbon Bar

Combat Infantryman 1st Award


 
 Unit Assignments
40th Infantry Division
  1951-1953, 40th Infantry Division
  1951-1953, 223rd Infantry Regiment (Combat Arms)
 Combat and Operations History
  1950-1953 Korean War
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

 

Gilbert G. Collier 
(December 30, 1930 – July 20, 1953) was a soldier in the United States Army during the Korean War. He posthumously received the Medal of Honor for his actions on July 19, and July 20, 1953.  

Observation Post Collier, located in the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea, is named after SGT Collier.

His was the last Medal of Honor (Army) awarded for actions in Korea.

Rank and organization: Sergeant (then Cpl.), U.S. Army, Company F, 223d Infantry Regiment, 40th Infantry Division

Place and date: Near Tutayon, Korea, 19-July 20, 1953

Entered service at: Tichnor Ark. Born: December 30, 1930, Hunter, Ark.

G.O. No.: 3, January 12, 1955

medal of honor image

Citation:

Sgt. Collier, a member of Company F, distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and indomitable courage above and beyond the call of duty in action against the enemy. Sgt. Collier was pointman and assistant leader of a combat patrol committed to make contact with the enemy. As the patrol moved forward through the darkness, he and his commanding officer slipped and fell from a steep, 60-foot cliff and were injured. Incapacitated by a badly sprained ankle which prevented immediate movement, the officer ordered the patrol to return to the safety of friendly lines. Although suffering from a painful back injury, Sgt. Collier elected to remain with his leader, and before daylight they managed to crawl back up and over the mountainous terrain to the opposite valley where they concealed themselves in the brush until nightfall, then edged toward their company positions. Shortly after leaving the daylight retreat they were ambushed and, in the ensuing fire fight, Sgt. Collier killed 2 hostile soldiers, received painful wounds, and was separated from his companion. Then, ammunition expended, he closed in hand-to-hand combat with 4 attacking hostile infantrymen, killing, wounding, and routing the foe with his bayonet. He was mortally wounded during this action, but made a valiant attempt to reach and assist his leader in a desperate effort to save his comrade's life without regard for his own personal safety. Sgt. Collier's unflinching courage, consummate devotion to duty, and gallant self-sacrifice reflect lasting glory upon himself and uphold the noble traditions of the military service.

 

   
Comments/Citation
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, July 15, 2003) – Sgt. Gilbert C. Collier of the 40th Infantry Division earned the Medal of Honor 50 years ago in Korea as a Chinese offensive was driven back and truce talks resumed.

SEOUL, Korea, July 17-20, 1953 -- The South Korean counteroffensive that began yesterday continues to drive Chinese communist troops northward. By July 19, ROK troops they hold the high ground south of the Kumsong River after chasing the Reds back across. The terrain on the north bank is not critical enough to risk more soldiers' lives. The ROK 6th Infantry Division digs in to hold the line for the rest of the war.

The enemy had gained six miles and deflated the Kumsong bulge in the Eighth Army line above the river, but they had lost about two divisions worth of men doing it. Eighth Army officials estimate that the Chinese suffered 28,000 casualties.

July 19-20 -- A six-man patrol sets out from the 40th Infantry Division line near the Punchbowl in X Corps. Sgt. Collier is the point man on the moonless night, and occasional showers make visibility even worse.

About two miles into no-man’s land, Collier takes a step into thin air, gives an involuntary yell and falls down a 60-foot cliff. Patrol leader, 2nd Lt. Richard S. Agnew, comes forward to investigate why Collier yelled, and he, too, goes tumbling down the cliff. He lands beside Collier.

In addition to scrapes and bruises, Collier suffers a wrenched back that makes it painful to stand. Agnew has a twisted ankle that’s too painful to stand on. They still had their weapons and canteens, and Agnew held onto his radio.

Agnew radios the patrol to get back to their lines before daylight, after failing to convince Collier to go with them. The patrol radioman says they’ll return that night to retrieve them.

The two men realize they can’t just lie at the bottom of the hill until their buddies return, so they start the painful climb up the cliff. Agnew falls once, losing his rifle and radio. Collier, despite the painful back injury, goes back down and helps Agnew back up the steep slope.

As they suffer through the day, each man’s injury worsens. Agnew’s ankle balloons to twice its size. Collier’s back is excruciatingly painful.

After dark falls, they decide to head back to their line. About 300 yards from their goal, they’re found by a six-man Chinese patrol. Collier screams a warning to the lieutenant.

He fires at the enemy, hitting two. The remainder lobs grenades at the Americans, wounding both. Collier begins crawling away from Agnew, to draw the enemy to him. He shoots until he runs out of ammo. Then the Chinese fall on him, stabbing and beating him with feet and rifle butts, and Agnew can only watch.

Even while he’s being beat over the head with a rifle, Collier manages to draw his bayonet and bury it into one man’s stomach. The other three continue to pound him, but he lashes out and stabs another in the throat.

That’s enough for the last two enemy soldiers, and they run away, leaving Collier pulverized and bleeding.

The rescue team has heard the beginning of the fight and arrives right after the enemy leaves. They get Collier and Agnew back to the aid station. On the way, Agnew tells them repeatedly about Collier’s actions.

Collier has lost too much blood and has sustained fatal injuries from the beating.

Maj. Charles A. Brown, battalion commander, tries to ask Collier about what happened to him, but receives little in reply

“Although he was dying, Sgt. Collier kept asking me if Lt. Agnew had been rescued and if he was all right,” Brown says.

Collier dies later that night.

His wife will receive his posthumous Medal of Honor in the Pentagon Jan. 12, 1955.

Collier is the last soldier to earn the Medal of Honor during the Korean War.
   
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