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Army Sgt. 1st Class Randy D. Collins

Died May 24, 2005 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

36, of Long Beach, Calif.; assigned to the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, Fort Irwin, Calif.; died May 24 at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., of injuries sustained May 4 during a mortar attack in Mosul, Iraq.

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Long Beach native killed in Iraq mortar attack

Associated Press

LONG BEACH, Calif. — Army Sgt. 1st Class Randy Collins was scheduled to spend Christmas with his family this year in one of his first holiday visits home since he began a demanding military career 17 years ago.

Collins, 36, died May 24 at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., of wounds he sustained three weeks earlier in a mortar attack in Mosul, Iraq. He was assigned to the Army’s 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment and was stationed at Fort Irwin, Calif.

“He won’t be back no more,” his mother, Margarette Miller, said between tears. “All his adult life he had been away in the service, and we’d be waiting for Christmas to come because he would be coming home.”

The sixth of nine children, Collins wanted to join the Army from a young age, his mother said.

He attended Mark Twain Elementary and Bancroft Junior High schools in Long Beach, where he excelled in track and cross country. At Millikan High School, he joined the Army Junior ROTC program.

After he graduated in 1987, Collins joined the Army Reserves and then went on active duty when he couldn’t find a civilian job.

During nearly two decades of active duty, Collins was stationed in California, New York, Germany, Kosovo and Kuwait. He was deployed to Iraq in January, less than a year after marrying his wife, Roxanne, in a civil service.

The couple was to renew their vows this December in a formal service attended by family and friends.


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