Preserving The Oral HistorIES of Combat Veterans

COMBAT STORIES FROM Vietnam

Quincy Collins | 80th Tactical Fighter Squadron - Air Force

7:50   |   Collin's first assignment was to attend pilot school in Bainbridge, Georgia. In addition, he had another assignment to go to Laredo Air Force Base in Texas. There he underwent a lot of difficult training exercises.

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Keywords   :     Quincy Collins    Air Force    Training    pilot training    school    Bainbridge GA    Laredo Air Force Base    Texas    civilian instructor    Piper Cub    T-6 Texan    airplane    T-28    landing craft    instructor    squadron    commander

Videos ( 18 )
Vietnam
  • Quincy Collins  |  Vietnam  |  80th Tactical Fighter Squadron  |  4:08

    Colonel Quincy Collins was born in Winnsboro, South Carolina. His father was in the furniture business and had three separate locations across the country before becoming a member of the Civil Air Patrol during WWII. Collins wound up going to The Citadel for school since he had some connections there through music departments.

  • Quincy Collins  |  Vietnam  |  80th Tactical Fighter Squadron  |  7:04

    Collins went to military school at The Citadel. Upon being admitted, he immediately sought out the school's band and auditioned for that. He talks about the types of tests he had to take to get into the Air Force, and how he was instructed to report to Sampson Air Force Base in New York afterwards.

  • Quincy Collins  |  Vietnam  |  80th Tactical Fighter Squadron  |  6:39

    After his first round of training, Collins reported to Nellis Air Force Base for advanced jet gunnery school. Unfortunately, he injured his back in the middle of his training. Despite that hiccup, he was tasked with training the first three classes and working base operations. While trying to apply for a regular position in the Air Force, there was one stubborn man who wouldn't let him finish the process.

  • Quincy Collins  |  Vietnam  |  80th Tactical Fighter Squadron  |  5:46

    Collins talks about his all important assignment to the Air Force Academy, training the first three classes, and what that was like for him as an instructor. He recounts one particular student who preferred not to be there, and Collins had a back and forth with the student's mother about it.

  • Quincy Collins  |  Vietnam  |  80th Tactical Fighter Squadron  |  5:25

    While he was training the first three classes, Quincy Collins remembers a few very unfortunate accidents that happened in the Air Force Academy. He also remembers the details about how some of the uniforms for the Air Force were created by costume designers all the way from Hollywood.

  • Quincy Collins  |  Vietnam  |  80th Tactical Fighter Squadron  |  6:21

    After he was done with his time at the Air Force Academy, Collins flew over to Europe. He talks about his first few days there, as well as becoming camp commander. Later on, he would go to be interviewed to be an aid for General Frank Everest.

  • Quincy Collins  |  Vietnam  |  80th Tactical Fighter Squadron  |  6:22

    Collins talks about his crazy interview with General Frank Everest, and how he got the job almost instantly because of how well they connected. Around this time, his first son was born. After the General retired, he went to chief of staff school at Maxwell Air Force Base.

  • Quincy Collins  |  Vietnam  |  80th Tactical Fighter Squadron  |  6:40

    Collins took an assignment from the Thunderbirds, but figured that the job was better suited for his friend, Andy Nile. Unfortunately, as Andy was up in the air with the leader of the Thunderbirds at the time, they performed a loop maneuver that did them both in before they could eject themselves. Collins in part blames himself for Andy's death, but has learned to live with the fact that it wasn't his fault.

  • Quincy Collins  |  Vietnam  |  80th Tactical Fighter Squadron  |  5:38

    Collins went to command staff school, where he got to fly the F-104 Starfighter airplanes. He also remembers that it was around this time that the Cuban missile crisis was going on. Soon after, he became so good at flying the F-104s that he became the instructor pilot for incoming trainees.

  • Quincy Collins  |  Vietnam  |  80th Tactical Fighter Squadron  |  5:51

    When his return date from Europe was coming up, Collins decided to fly the giant F-105 planes as his next military chapter. He flew over Japan and was sent to Southeast Asia after. He spent some time in Takhli, Thailand, where he constantly had to check his boots for snakes before putting them on.

  • Quincy Collins  |  Vietnam  |  80th Tactical Fighter Squadron  |  7:05

    Collins' job was to take his division commander to Saigon, Vietnam and then to Takhli, Thailand. Upon getting to Takhli, he was assigned to a squadron. He tells the incredible story of how he was shot down, his not-so-comfortable landing and how he had NVA soldiers pointing guns at him.

  • Quincy Collins  |  Vietnam  |  80th Tactical Fighter Squadron  |  7:28

    After he was shot down over enemy territory, Quincy Collins noticed his leg was broken in three different places upon his parachuted landing. The North Vietnamese soldiers that discovered him dragged him along, and all the while Collins thought he was a goner. They wound up hiking back up the Ho Chi Minh Trail to Hanoi. Fortunately, one generous Vietnamese man was helping him recover in secret little by little.

  • Quincy Collins  |  Vietnam  |  80th Tactical Fighter Squadron  |  5:28

    Collins tells stories of how that one nice North Vietnamese gentleman continued to help him by bringing him small things like snacks, water, and eventually even beer. The guards demanded to know who was the most 'senior' out of the American prisoners captured. Even though Collins wasn't the most senior, he selflessly took the fall for it every day.

  • Quincy Collins  |  Vietnam  |  80th Tactical Fighter Squadron  |  8:15

    On Christmas Eve of 1965, Collins and all of the other POWs in his area, were moved around to their respective cells of one or two people each. He remembers trying to communicate with men in other cells, which proved to be harder than it sounds. Eventually, they were regrouped again in Hanoi, Vietnam into groups of five men per cell.

  • Quincy Collins  |  Vietnam  |  80th Tactical Fighter Squadron  |  7:07

    Upon the request of the NVA running the prisoner of war camp, Collins was asked to form a choir along with other musically inclined prisoners. While they were practicing, they set it up so that there was a hidden message for the American audience watching; spilling information about the POWs.

  • Quincy Collins  |  Vietnam  |  80th Tactical Fighter Squadron  |  7:19

    After the North Vietnamese found out about the secret message hidden in the choir's performance, Quincy Collins was not killed because of it, but he was sent away on an isolated tour afterwards. After five whole years, he got his first letter from back home. It was his mother explaining that his dad had died. Turns out his loved ones had thought he was dead for years.

  • Quincy Collins  |  Vietnam  |  80th Tactical Fighter Squadron  |  7:01

    For the final year and a half that Collins was kept as a prisoner of war, he was actually in the same cell as John McCain. As the war was finally coming to a close, the men were told not to show any emotion during the release process. On the way back home, each man was assigned a job. Collins' job was to be in charge of the wounded.

  • Quincy Collins  |  Vietnam  |  80th Tactical Fighter Squadron  |  5:19

    Collins describes in detail what it was like to finally be allowed to return home, from the final sign out of the prisoner of war camp to the ride back and touching back down on American soil. Sadly, his wife was fairly cold to him when he got back. He gives his final reflections and words of advice to generations forthcoming.

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