Dave Collins was born on March 3, 1969, in Lock Haven, Pennsylvania. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy on April 20, 1988, and graduated from basic training in July 1988. After completing "A" School, he served aboard the aircraft carrier USS Independence (CV-62) from 1988 to 1991. Petty Officer Collins attended Navy Second Class Diver training from January to April 1991, and then served with SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team TWO at NAB Little Creek, Virginia, from April 1991 until he entered Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training in August 1995. After completing BUD/S, he was assigned to SEAL Team FOUR at NAB Little Creek from May 1996 to December 2001, when he joined SEAL Team TEN. Petty Officer Collins became a Plank Owner of SEAL Team TEN upon its activation in April 2002, and made deployments to both Afghanistan and Iraq. Chief Petty Officer Collins' final assignment was as an instructor at the Naval Special Warfare Intelligence Course, Navy Marine Corps Intelligence Training Center, at Dam Neck, Virginia, from February 2010 until his retirement from the Navy on October 1, 2012. After his retirement from the Navy, Dave worked for Blackbird Technologies in Herndon, Virginia. Dave Collins died from service-related causes on March 12, 2014, and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
His Bronze Star Medal Citation reads:
For meritorious service in connection with combat operations as Primary Tactical Shift Leader for the Protective Security Deal for a Foreign Head of State while deployed with Naval Special Warfare Task Group-Arabian Peninsula in direct support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM from 1 January to 15 April 2005. Petty Officer Collins' outstanding leadership and operation expertise were integral to the effective tactical employment of a joint and combined force of SEAL operators, U.S. Army Military Police, Explosive Ordnance Disposal personnel, canine teams, indigenous security personnel and armored vehicles on a daily basis. In the face of a grave and unrelenting threat from Anti-Iraqi Forces during the campaign and National Election period, he expertly directed the safe execution of over 300 high-risk movements ranging throughout Iraq and across the Middle East, thus providing a secure environment for the principal to actively engage other political, religious, and civic figures. His actions were instrumental in ensuring the highest levels of security for the principal while enabling him to spearhead the strategic initiative of building a free and democratic Iraq. Petty Officer Collins' total effectiveness, forceful leadership, and loyal devotion to duty reflected great credit upon him and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
His Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal w/Valor Citation reads:
For heroic achievement while serving with SEAL Team TEN, Naval Special Warfare Task Unit-Fallujah, in direct support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM from 28 June to 1 October 2007. Chief Petty Officer Collins demonstrated skill and bravery in the conduct of 64 combat convoys and 72 clandestine operations. On a 17 August 2007 daylight advance special operations mission in Fallujah, he boldly led a small assault force through enemy infested streets with little to no external support to capture a suspected insurgent. By his unswerving determination, wise judgment, and complete dedication to duty, Chief Petty Officer Collins reflected credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the united States Naval Service.