Veteran aviator honored for a lifetime of service

On Tuesday, April 24, 2018, retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Phillip B. Collins was awarded the FAA Wright Brothers “Master Pilot” Award. This award recognizes his fifty year plus service as a pilot both in the US Air Force and as a volunteer in the Civil Air Patrol. Collins has amassed over 9,000 hours of pilot flight time. The award citation reads as follows:

“The Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award is presented to Phillip Bolton Collins in appreciation for your dedicated service, technical expertise, professionalism, and many outstanding contributions to further the cause of aviation safety.”

In failing health for some time, Collins passed away on April 28, just four days after receiving the Master Pilot award.

In addition to his service as a pilot, Collins worked tirelessly to support the “Wreaths Across America” program. That program sponsors a wreath laying ceremony on the second Saturday of December each year at almost all veterans’ cemeteries in the United States. Collins’ efforts were responsible for the laying of wreaths at both the Port Hudson National Cemetery and the Louisiana National Cemetery located south of the Port Hudson facility.

Lt. Col. Collins’ active duty service consisted of over 8,000 flight hours in the C-130 “Hercules” multi-engine aircraft. That aircraft has been in active service since the middle of the 20th century.

Collins is survived by his son, Major Phillip Collins, Jr., USAF (Retired), and his granddaughter, First Lieutenant Sarah Collins, USAF. Both graduated from the U. S. Air Force Academy and became active duty Air Force pilots. Lt. Collins currently flies an updated variant of the same aircraft her grandfather flew. She will shortly deploy to Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan.