CAPT the Hon PETER COLLINS AM RFD QC
Peter Collins joined the ARES (then CMF) aged 17 yrs and served 5years finishing as a Commando officer. His then CO was the legendary Harry Smith SG MC ( Delta Company commander at Long Tan). He earned his Parachute wings in 1969.
He joined the Naval Reserve in I975 where he would serve 37 years, mostly in Intelligence and Legal.
After leaving the NSW Parliament in 2003, he became the first reservist to act as Fleet Legal Officer for five months in 2003&2004.
In 2007 , he became the first former Minister-State or Federal- to see active service in Iraq where he led an ADF legal team in Baghdad.
He also served as Honorary Colonel of 1st Commando Regiment, the first postwar Special Forces unit in the Australian Army, from 1995-2000. He is the only serving Naval officer- permanent or reserve-to have this honour accorded by the Army.
He wrote the history of Australian Commandos STRIKE SWIFTLY in 2005.
He left the Navy as a Captain in 2012.
His lifelong interest in the ADF includes his time as a television journalist at ABCTV where he was the first journalist to fly in the F-111 in Australia; also flying in the Navy’s A-4 Skyhawk and S-2Tracker; several types of naval helicopter. He has been aboard over 250 warships, Australian and foreign: this includes four carrier landings and catapault launches on US carriers. He witnessed the last broadside fired from a battleship off the Australian coast ( USS NEW JERSEY 1988).
He went to sea on the two most recent classes of Australian submarine; also to sea on 33 other surface warships.
The Services run in the Collins family:
Grandfather Charles Collins served in battleships 1904-8; uncle Keith served in HMAS ANZAC off Korea; cousin Gordon survived HMAS VOYAGER sinking off Jervis Bay in 1964.
Peter’s father Ron served with No 22 Squadron ( Richmond NSW) as a Navigator in Beaufighters 1944-46 operating from Morotai through to the Occupation of Japan. Ron Collins was demobilised as a Flying Officer in 1946 after returning from Japan.