General J. Lawton Collins (Joseph Lawton Collins, aka "Lightning Joe") was born in New Orleans, Louisiana on 1 May 1896. He graduated from the U.S. Military Academy and was commissioned a second lieutenant on 20 April 1917 with the 22nd Infantry Regiment. From May 1919 until July 1921, he served with the American Forces in Germany. For the next four years, he was an instructor at the U.S. Military Academy. Collins then graduated from the Infantry School at Fort Benning, Georgia in July 1926, and the advanced course of the Field Artillery School at Fort Sill, Oklahoma in June 1927. Collings served as an instructor at the Infantry School under Lieutenant Colonel George C. Marshall until August 1931, when he left to attend the Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth. After graduating in June 1933, Collins was assigned to the 23rd Brigade (Philippine Scouts) at Fort William McKinley, Philippine Islands. Later he became Assistant Chief of Staff for Military Intelligence-Philippine Division. Collins attended the Army Industrial College in 1937 and the Army War College in 1938. As an instructor at the Army War College, he assumed additional duties in the Office of the Secretary, War Department General Staff. In January 1941, he was assigned as Chief of Staff of the VII Army Corps. During World War II, Collins initially served as Chief of Staff to General Delos C. Emmons in command of the Hawaiian Department. He was named as Commanding General of the 25th Infantry Division in May 1942. In December 1942, he led his division into Guadalcanal to relieve the First Marine Division. He participated in the New Georgia campaign before he was assigned to command VII Corps in England for the invasion of Normandy. In August 1945, Collins was appointed Deputy Commanding General and Chief of Staff, Headquarters, Army Ground Forces. In December 1945, he took over the Office of Director of Information of the War Department. On 29 July 1947, he was announced as Deputy Chief of Staff, U.S. Army to General Eisenhower, effective 1 September 1947. He was named Vice Chief of Staff, U.S. Army to General Omar N. Bradley effective on creation of that post in place of the old Deputy Chief of Staff position on 15 November 1948. Collins became Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army on 16 August 1949, and served in that capacity until 15 August 1953. Collins was appointed as the United States Representative to the Military Committee and the Standing Group of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), effective 16 August 1953. From November 1954 to May 1955, Collins took a leave of absence from NATO to serve as a Special Representative of the U.S. in Vietnam, with the personal rank of Ambassador, to coordinate all agencies of the U.S. government in Vietnam. J. Lawton Collins retired from the Army on 31 March 1956. He died on 12 September 1987 and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
From the description of J. Lawton Collins papers, 1923-1979 Jan. 17-1983, undated (bulk 1949-1983). (US Army, Mil Hist Institute). WorldCat record id: 676830783