Pvt. Arnold Rosco Collins is my great-grandfather. He served briefly during World War I and World War II. He never saw combat, but like so many other Americans of his generation, he reported for duty when his nation called.
The Military History of Arnold Roscoe Collins, a Veteran of World War I and World War II: 7 November 1918 to 18 December 1918, and 27 October 1942 to 15 April 1943
Arnold Roscoe Collins was born on 25 April 1897 in Overton County, Tenn., to William and Jane Norrod Collins. He grew up in and around Monterey, Tenn. He attended elementary school and did not go any further with his education. He was a laborer most of his life, doing various jobs and farming.
Arnold Roscoe Collins was inducted into the U.S. Army and given the serial number 4253203 on 7 November 1918, at the age of 21 1/2, four days before World War I ended on 11 November 1918. He was inducted in Livingston, Tenn., and sent to Camp Wodsworth, S.C. He was a private in L Company, 61th Pioneer Infantry. His enlistment ended a short 41 days later on 18 December 1918. With the end of hostilities, the mobilization began and new recruits who had not completed training were sent home. He received no awards and did not qualify with any weapons.
* Based on a letter dated May 7, 1962, Arnold Roscoe Collins informed the Veterans Administration that he has enlisted under the name Arnel Roscoe Collins. He was known to his family as Arnel, but had applied for and received his Social Security card under the name Arnold Roscoe Collins and used the name ever since. He only used Arnel during his enlisted time during World War I.
Arnold Roscoe Collins returned home and back to his civilian life. On 6 October 1923, Arnold R. Collins married Laura Mae Nickens. On 19 September 1923 they had a son, Arnold Collins Jr., in Monterey. Arnold Roscoe and his family moved to Detroit some time after Arnold’s birth. Some time in 1928 Arnold Roscoe Collins and Laura Mae Collins divorced. Laura Mae remarried Edward Burrows and raised Arnold Collins Jr.
Arnold Roscoe Collins again enlisted in the U.S. Army and was given serial number 36539140 on 10 November 1942, at the age of 45. He enlisted from Detroit and was sent to Army Air Base, Robins Field, Ga. He was assigned to the 470th Base Headquarters in the medical department. There is nothing notable about his time in the service. He stayed in the Army for less than six months. He requested discharge under Section II, No. 39 WD 1943, which allowed underutilized soldiers to separate to accept essential industry employment. He was allowed to separate on 15 April 1943. He is authorized the World War II Victory Medal, which was awarded to all who served from 7 December 1941 to 31 December 1946.
Arnold Roscoe Collins worked as a guard in 1947. He seemed to have long periods of unemployment and became totally disabled on 25 April 1962.
Arnold Roscoe Collins died on 18 May 1976 in Cookeville, Tenn. After the war or at some point he returned to Monterey. He lived to be 79. He is buried in Monterey. He never remarried and was survived by his only child, Arnold Collins Jr. His son would also enlist during World War II and would make a career out of the Army, serving 25 years and retiring as a lieutenant colonel. He would see action in World War II, Korea and Vietnam.