Murdered ROTC cadet receives posthumous promotion

Julia LeDoux
May 29, 2020 - 11:46 am

United States Army

Bowie State University ROTC student Richard Collins III has been granted a posthumous promotion to Army first lieutenant by the Department of Defense. 

Collins, who was black,  was stabbed to death while visiting friends at the University of Maryland in 2017 days after being commissioned as a second lieutenant.  A white University of Maryland student, Sean Urbanski, was convicted of first-degree murder in Collins’ death.

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"The Army considered the standards and criteria required for an honorary promotion and found that 2nd Lt. Collins displayed exemplary conduct in the performance of his duties commensurate with a first lieutenant,"  Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy said in a statement on Wednesday.

Though Collins’ life was cut short, McCarthy said he “exhibited character and exemplary conduct of an officer of a higher rank."

Maryland Sens. Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen and Reps. Anthony Brown and Steny Hoyer, all Democrats, said in a joint statement that the honorary promotion was "the rightful recognition" of Collins' contributions as an ROTC student.

"We do not know what would have been, but we do know that his memory will stand as a reminder of the duty, honor and sacrifice borne daily by our servicemen on and off the battlefield," the statement reads.

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The lawmakers also pledged to continue to fight for the benefits and recognition due Collins and his family and said they would work to protect future families from facing similar circumstances.

Collins was killed on May 20, 2017, three days before he was set to graduate from Bowie State University with a degree in business administration, NPR reported.

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