500 signatures reached
To: U.S. ARMY
Have Military Recognize Soldier Murdered in Hate Crime
We are urging the U.S. Army to honor the service and legacy of 2nd Lieutenant Richard W. Collins III by offering full acknowledgement of his service as a member in good standing of the United States Army.
We are horrified by the murder of this brave young man, who was dedicated to and passionate about our country, who was honored to be selected to faithfully serve as a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Army. His commitment to serve the nation he loved is reflected in his volunteering to complete the rigorous training regimen required of soldiers to be certified to wear the “Airborne Insignia.” His unwavering devotion to his country was clearly demonstrated on May 18, 2017 as 2nd Lieutenant Collins, being of sound mind and body, willing accepted his oath of Commissioning at the hands of a Three-Star General of the U.S. Army. This great nation relies on the U.S. Army to protect us all from enemies foreign and domestic while living up to its creed of duty, honor, country.
Therefore, we fervently implore that the U.S. Army honor its own creed in establishing an Exception to Policy (ETP) for a change of status to active duty to officially acknowledge Richard W. Collins III as a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Army. This status change should be applied to include the award of full honors, benefits, and privileges to all duly Commissioned Officers who lose their lives as a member of the Armed Forces of these United States.
Why is this important?
2nd Lieutenant Richard W. Collins III, was commissioned in the U.S. Army on May 18, 2017. He was very excited about achieving his goal of becoming an army officer and was eager to celebrate his accomplishment with some of his friends. Two days following his commissioning at approximately 3am, he was standing with two of his friends at a bus stop on the campus of the University of Maryland at College Park. While they were waiting for an Uber ride, a young white male emerged from the darkness toward them standing at the bus stop. He approached and stated, “Step to the left if you know what’s good for you.” At that moment the white male suddenly produced a knife and stabbed 2nd Lt. Collins in the chest directly in his heart. He was transported to a local hospital where he succumbed to his wounds. Lt. Collins' murder was linked to a White Supremacist online group.
In the days immediately following 2nd Lt. Collins’ murder, the U.S. Army informed the parents that they would not provide any military honors or benefits to his parents because he had not been assigned an Active Duty designation but rather had been transferred into what is known by their policies as, “Individual Ready Reserve” or IRR. The family received no assistance or support from the Army at all after his murder. The singular exception was having a casualty officer sent to request assistance from the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) to provide a headstone for his gravesite some 18 months later. After filing all the necessary paperwork required for this request, it too was ultimately denied by the VA as they also stated that Lt. Collins was not eligible to receive this military benefit under U.S. Army and/or VA policy.
How it will be delivered
The signatures will be emailed and hand delivered to high ranking officials of the U.S. Army as well as federal and state politicians. There will also be continuous media attention on this issue.