Arkansas Soldier Killed in Iraq

OCTOBER 5, 2004 - Posted at 7:21 a.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK, AR - An Arkansas Army National Guard medic from Harrison was killed in Taji, Iraq, on Sunday.

Sergeant Russell L. Collier died when he came under fire while helping Sergeant Chris Potts of Rhode Island, who was wounded when he ran in front of a berm to get a better look at the enemy's firing position.  Potts also died.  The deaths were reported by Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reporter Amy Schlesing, who is embedded with the unit.

Potts, of Tiverton, R.I., and Collier of Harrison were the first deaths for 206th Field Artillery Battalion of Arkansas' 39th Infantry Brigade.  Potts died on his 38th birthday.  Collier was 48.

Collier was born in Crossett and began his military career in 1975 when he enlisted in the Army.  He joined the Arkansas National Guard in 1999.

Schlesing reported that the tight-knit Rhode Island unit embraced Collier as one of their own.

The Army said Collier was married and had a nine-year-old son.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)