Garland Woodrow 'Tex' COLLIER
SGT LMG Platoon
- HQ Company - 3rd BTN - 506th PIR - 101st Airborne Division
KIA October 5, 1944 Opheusden, The Netherlands during Operation Market-Garden
Memorialized on “Tablets of the Missing”
Bronze Star and Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster
Garland was killed
in action on October 5, 1944, in Opheusden, The Netherlands, near the railway
Although his body was supposedly buried, the ‘PLACE’ of his burial was never properly identified. There were no remains ever returned
to his family in Texas. Nor was his grave ever marked.
Darvin Lee, one
of Garland’s comrades in the 506th/3rd BN/HQ Co/LMG Platoon, witnessed Garland’s
death and has been able to
communicate with two of Collier’s great nieces about their time together from Toccoa to Opheusden.
However, in a visit to Margraten many years later, Darvin reports that he himself was surprised to see Garland’s name on the
“Tablets of the Missing,” always having assumed that Garland had been identified by Graves Registration officers and buried.
Garland’s name is on a plaque along with those of Harry Clawson, Morris Thomas, Charles Easter, Carl Pease, Franklin Stroble, and Leonardus Jeucken. The plaque was erected in Opheusden, The Netherlands, in 1999.
It was on this location that a US 101st Airborne Division medical post was located in October 1944. A number of the soldiers involved, plus a 17 year old Dutch
volunteer* were killed in this area during the liberation of Opheusden.
S.Sgt Harry A. Clawson
P.fc Morris L. Thomas
Sgt Charles L. Easter
Sgt Garland W. Collier
P.fc Carl E. Pease
cpl. Franklin F. Stroble
Leonardus G.M. Jeucken*
15th September 1999
On D-Day Garland and his stick jumped successfully in Normandy. The C47 that had dropped the stick, however, crashed on its way back to England, killing the pilot and crew.
Bill Wedeking, Garland's jumpmaster, provided Garland's family with the plane manifest from Garland’s plane on Sept 17, 1944, when he jumped into Holland. Bill also was the officer in charge at the Command Post in Opheusden very near where Garland was killed. Morris Thomas, whose remains were discovered in 1971 together with Harry Clawson's, was on the same plane as Garland when they jumped into Holland.
A research team
is investigating two WWII gravesites in the Opheusen area. After WWII, when
discovered, the remains were reinterred at the American Military Cemetery in
Neuville (Ardennes, Belgium). There is speculation that perhaps one of the gravesites
might be that of Leonardus Jeucken, who was a young Dutch volunteer who fought
with Garland Collier's LMG platoon on that day. Hopefully, some day in the future,
mystery will be solved. In the mean time, should you have any information, please don't hesitate to contact us.
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