Dale Edmond Collins was born in Rich Hill, Missouri, on May 12, 1902, son of Charles B. Collins and Mrs. Lucy Collins (now Mrs. Lucy Brady). On finishing High School in Rich Hill, he attended Navigation School in San Francisco, California, and in 1920 entered the Merchant Marine as a cadet, sailing in the USS San Juan and other vessels of the Pacific Mail Steamship Company. He subsequently advanced through the various grades to that of Master. He served as Master of the following vessels mostly in the Trans-Pacific and routes the world trade routes: USS President Pierce (1934); USS Stanley Dollar (1935) USS President Harrison (1937); USS President Coolidge (one voyage only, 1938) USS President Taft (1940) USS President Hayes (1941); Ms. Day Star (ex-Laura Maersk-Danish, 1941-1942).
He was commissioned Lieutenant (jg) in the US Naval Reserve in August 1928 and thereafter took regular periods of training duty without pay in the USS Tennessee (1929); USS New York (19310; USS Astoria (1935), and in 1937 the battleship New York (coronation cruise) and destroyer Lamson. In the summer of 1937 he performed six weeks training duty in the cruiser Pensacola, two weeks of which were with pay. During August and September 1941 he had instruction at the Officers Naval Training School at Year Buena Island, San Francisco, followed by a month’s duty in the USS President Jackson as Gunnery Officer. He advanced progressively in rank on the Naval Reserve to that of Captain, to date from March 15, 1945. On August 4, 1946 he was transferred to the regular Navy.
In November 1941 he became aster of the Motor ship Day Star (ex-Danish ship Laura Maersk taken over by American President Line). The Day Star was in the Java Sea on December 7-8 1941. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor the Day Star was ordered into Surabays, Java and then under orders of Admiral Thomas C. Hard, USN, Commander in Chief, Asiatic Fleet, proceeded to Rangoon, Burman to unload supplies for the Burma Road. The Day Star spent 42 days at Rangoon and survived 57 Japanese air attacks. Assisted by the Flying Tigers the Day Star was the last American ship to escape that port.
Upon returning to San Francisco to April 1942 he was ordered to report to the USS Sperry at Mare Island Navy Yard as navigator. He served in that capacity until September. Ordered to the Twelfth Naval District, San Francisco, he had duty as Prospective Commanding Officer of the Navy cargo ship Hercules, but was detached in December 1942 before she was commissioned and transferred to the USS Alundra. He assumed command of that vessel upon her commissioning and continued to command her until she was torpedoed and sunk by a Japanese submarine in the Coral Sea off Guadalcanal on June 23, 1943.
He then returned to San Francisco, and after fitting out the USS Guntson Hall, commanded her from her commissioning, January 31, 1944 until February 1945. During his period of command, the Gunston Hall participated in the D-Day assault landings at Roi and Namur, Kwajalein, Emira, Bismark Archipelago; Guam Marianas: Hollandia, New Guniea; Peleliu, Palau; Leyte, P.I., and Lingayen, P.I.
For meritorious service in command of the Gunston Hall during the landing of assault troops on January 31, 1944 and on July 12, 1944, he was award the Bronze Star Medal with Combat “V,” The citation states in part: “… Maintaining a high standard of efficiency throughout the training and execution phase of these operations, (he) rendered valuable service in directing his auxiliary attack cargo ship and attached landing craft during the invasion of Roi and Namur, Kwajalein Islands, and in the establishment of Asan beachhead on Guam, Marianas islands…. (and) contributed materially to the success of our forces…”
While staging for the Iwo Jima assault at Saipan, February 14, 1945, he fell between a landing craft and the Gunston Hall, suffering injuries which hospitalized him for seven months. In September 1945 he was assigned to the Bureau of Naval Personnel, Navy Department, Washington, DC, for brief duty as a member of a Selection Board, and in January 1946 assumed command of the USS Consolation. He continued sea service in that command until July 1947, after which he completed the course in logistics at the Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island.
In May 1948 he was assigned to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Navy Department, where he served as Planning Officer in the Naval Transportation Division, and on October 1, 1949 became Director of the Plans Division, of the newly created Military Sea Transportation Service. In that capacity he played a prominent part in organizing and planning the future of the Military Sea Transportation Service. In May 1950 he assumed command of the USS General H.W. Butner (AP 113). From May 1951 to October 1952 he served as Commander MSTS Mid-Pacific Area at Pearl Harbor. In October 1952 he reported as Commander Service Division Thirty One. “For exceptionally meritorious conduct… (in the latter capacity) during operations against enemy aggressor force in Korea from October 23, 1952 to July 27, 1953…” he was awarded the Legion of Merit with Combat “V,” The citation further states in part:
“Throughout this period, Captain Collins displayed outstanding executive ability and a thorough knowledge of logistics operations in anticipating and providing continuous support to the combat units of the Seventh Fleet. While serving as Commander Task Group 92.1 he was responsible for the planning and coordination of the mobile replenishment of Task Force Seventy Seven and Ninety Five. During June and July, when maximum efforts was being exerted against the enemy, he served as Commander Task Unit 92.1.1 in command of replenishment ships in the combat area and contributed directly to the maintenance of exacting mobile logistics standards essential to the combat efficiency of the Fleet. Despite the complexities of replenishment operations effected by constantly changing conditions he exhibited a keen analysis of the situation and assured that all replenishment in the combat area were fulfilled, thereby permitting record offensive to the launched against the enemy during the final days of the Korean conflict…”
Detached from duty as Commander Service Division Thirty One, he reported to December 1953 as Chief of Staff and Aide to the Commander Military Sea Transportation Service, Western Pacific Area. In March 1955 he assumed command of the USS Manchester and continues to serve in that command until March 1956 when he was ordered to duty as Chief of Staff and Aide to the commander Western Sea Frontier with headquarters at Treasure Island, San Francisco, California.
In addition to the Legion of Merit and the Bronze Star Medal, each with Combat “V,” Captain Collins has the Naval Reserve Medal with one bronze star (twenty years of service); the American Defense Service medal; the American Campaign Medal; the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with one silver star and three bronze stars (eight engagement); World War II Victory Medal; the National Defense Service Medal; the Korean Service Medal; the United Nations Service Medal; and the Philippine Liberation with two bronze stars; He also has the Expert Pistol Shot Medal and the Expert Rifleman medal.