Veterans Day in North Charleston, a Tribute to our Veterans

Quincy Collins Flyboy
Quincy Collins Flyboy

NORTH CHARLESTON, SC – The City of North Charleston will host its annual Veterans Day tribute on Wednesday, November 11, 2015 from 10:30 am – 1:00 pm at Park Circle featuring Vietnam War veteran and former prisoner of war Col. Quincy Collins, USAF (Ret) as keynote speaker (photo attached). We ask veterans and the public to join Mayor Keith Summey and City Council in this special ceremony.  Each year, over 500 veterans in attendance are honored.

All veterans in attendance will be recognized and will receive a specially designed commemorative coin. To receive a coin, veterans are urged to RSVP no later than November 4 to (843) 740-5801, (843) 745-1028 or via email at cdambaugh@northcharleston.org.

Prior to the ceremony, from 9:30 am – 10:30 am, a story swap will be held in the Felix Davis Community Center.  Veterans will have an open opportunity to share memories and stories about their service with fellow veterans.  The story swap is open to the public.  Veterans wishing to speak should RSVP to (843) 740-5854.

In addition, the 1st Combat Camera Squadron will provide photo and video displays from the perspective of the Air Force during past wartime strategic, operational, worldwide crises, contingencies, joint exercises and humanitarian operations.  The 1st Combat Camera Squadron is a tenant unit at Joint Base Charleston, and the largest active duty combat camera unit in the Air Force. Combat Camera acquires still and motion imagery in support of classified and unclassified air, sea, and ground military operations.

Lunch for all event attendees will be provided immediately following the ceremony with the Charleston County School of the Arts Jazz Band performing during the luncheon.

The Department of Defense and the Veterans Day National Committee once again selected North Charleston as a Regional Site for Veterans Day 2015.  North Charleston is one of two regional sites in the State of South Carolina and has received this designation for five consecutive years.

Keynote Speaker – Col. Quincy Collins, USAF (Ret)

Quincy Collins was born in 1931 and raised in Concord, N.C., graduating from Concord High School and The Citadel with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Commerce in 1953.

After graduation, Collins immediately entered the Air Force as a 2nd Lt. and began pilot training. Twenty-one years later, he had accumulated over 3,000 hours of jet time with a Command Pilot rating and had flown every jet fighter of the day.

Distinguishing moments of his career include opening the new Air Force Academy in 1955 as an Air Training Officer and becoming the Aide to the Four Star Commander-In-Chief of U. S. Air Forces in Europe.  However, the most grueling part of his career was the 7.5 year period he spent as a Prisoner of War after being shot down by the North Vietnamese Army.

On September 2, 1965, United States Air Force Colonel J. Quincy Collins, ’53, was on a mission to destroy a bridge 80 miles southwest of Hanoi when he was shot down. Collins ejected but suffered head and back injuries, along with a severe leg injury, which left his femur broken in three places.

He was captured and, after having his leg operated on, was sent to the “Hanoi Hilton,” where he stayed several weeks. He was then transferred to “The Zoo,” where he spent the next five years of his captivity. There he endured torture, despicable food and little medical treatment.

The prisoners there were held in solitary confinement and learned to communicate through tapping on the walls. In 1969, Collins was transferred to the “Camp Faith” prison for a short time before being sent back to the “Hanoi Hilton,” where he stayed until he was released February 12, 1973. (Source: The Citadel)

Collins retired as a full Colonel in 1974 and ran for Congress in the 7th District of Georgia in 1974 and again in 1976.  Collins led a very successful real estate career in Charlotte, NC, retiring in 2012.  He is married to Catherine, his wife of 33 years.  She has 3 daughters and Collins has 3 sons.  They have 12 grandchildren

Quincy’s military awards include:

  • 2 Silver Stars
  • 2 Air Medals
  • 2 Purple Hearts
  • POW Medal
  • Air Force Commendation Medal
  • Air Force Outstanding Unit Award
  • Air Force Longevity Service Award
  • National Defense Service Medal
  • Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
  • Vietnam Service Medal
  • Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal

From past Veterans Day events

Photos: Past Veterans Day events

Video: Medal of Honor recipient Major General Livingston on Veterans Day

Video: 10 year old Tre’ Williams on what it means to be a veteran

Video: Sophia Simmons on what it means to be a veteran

Video: Major Joe Lysaght on the history of the Pledge of Allegiance

Video: Lt. Col. Vernon Lightner gives remarks at North Charleston Veterans Day event

Video: Col. Harrington delivers 2013 keynote speech

Video: Students read “What Veterans Day means to me” essays

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