Nov. 8 was an important day in Jay A. Collars’ life. He was inducted into the Indiana Military Veterans Hall of Fame (IMVHOF). He was chosen for this award for bravery and courage as an Air Force Sergeant while serving in South Vietnam in 1965.
The Indiana Military Veterans Hall of Fame (IMVHOF), a 501(c)3 organization, was founded in 2013. The IMVHOF’s stated objective is “to publicly emphasize the honor brought to our state and nation by the sacrifice of Indiana military veterans and their families.”
On April 25, 2013, the Indiana House of Representatives and the Indiana Senate recognized the Indiana Military Veterans Hall of Fame organization. Indiana follows only a handful of other states who have established similar organizations.
In October 1965, while at Pleiku, Republic of South Vietnam, SSgt. Jay A. Collars and his crew moved six A1-E aircraft from other burning and exploding aircraft which had been hit by enemy 100mm mortars. Collars was awarded his first of three medals; one for heroism – a Bronze Star with “V” (Valor) device.
In April 1970 he returned to Vietnam for a second Combat Tour as a Combat Crew Flight Engineer on AC-119G Gunships. Jay was assigned to the 17th Special Operations Squadron (SOS) at Tan Son Nhut Air Base but detached to17th SOS “A” Flight, Phu Cat, RVN with additional duties as First Sergeant. After getting Combat Qualified, he was assigned to a permanent Combat Flight Crew.
Jay flew 85 combat missions with over 300 combat hours in support of U.S. Army and Marine units. For his extraordinary combat support during this time he was the recipient of the Distinguished Flying Cross and eight Air Medals during this tour. He was one of 16 military recipients who was inducted into the Hall of Fame. Collars retired after 25 years in the U.S. Air Force as a Chief Master Sergeant.
He is very active in the Greenwood community. He is the Chef deGare (Commander) of the 40 & 8 Voiture (Post); the VFW’s Post Adjutant and is a former Commander and Quartermaster with the American Legion and serves as an Advisor to American Legion Centennial Post 1919. Jay and his wife, Genieve (Jan) Collars have six children –Jay Jr., Kenneth, Toni Ann Collars; and Darrell, Kathy and David Napier. He was nominated by Dr. Richard Storm, a Greenwood dermatologist.