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Army lieutenant from Tyrone dies in IED blast in northern Iraq

Army 1st Lt. Robert Collins of Tyrone died Wednesday in Iraq when his vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device, military officials said.

His funeral will be at 10 a.m. Saturday at New Hope Baptist Church in Fayetteville.

Lt. Collins is expected to be flown into Peachtree City’s Falcon Field Airport sometime Thursday and citizens are welcome to line the route to welcome him home. The procession will go north on Ga. Highway 74, left on Crabapple Lane, right on Senoia Road through downtown Tyrone, north on Hwy. 74, right on Jenkins Road, left on Ellison Road, left on Sandy Creek Road then back onto Hwy. 74 north to Parrott Funeral Home.

The estimated time of arrival for Collins' flight Thursday will be published here at www.TheCitizen.com as soon as it is available.

Besides Collins, who was the platoon commander, the roadside explosion also killed the vehicle's driver, Pfc. William A. Blount, 21, of Petal, Miss., according to a press release from the U.S. Department of Defense.

Neighbors have lined the Collins' Tyrone area neighborhood with flags in a tribute to Lt. Collins and also to provide moral support for the family.

The incident happened near Tal Abdah, northern Iraq (near Mosul) on April 7. Collins and Blount were both assigned to the 1st Battalion, 64th Armor Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, Fort Stewart, Ga.

Collins was a 2004 graduate of Sandy Creek High School and a 2008 graduate of West Point Military Academy. He was also engaged to be married. Collins was also a member of American Legion Post 105 in Fayetteville.

Fayette County Sheriff Wayne Hannah issued the following statement Saturday afternoon:

“The Fayette County Sheriff’s Office would like to express our deepest sympathy to the family of Lt. Robert Collins who has been tragically killed in Iraq while serving our country.

“Lt. Collins was a resident and high school graduate of Fayette County.

“We recently were contacted by Lt. Collins’ family who appreciate all the support from the community and the media. However, at this time they would like to request that you consider them as they try and mourn this tragic loss.

“They want to convey to you in the media that the best way to honor their loved one is to allow them to privately grieve.

“We at the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office would like to honor this family’s wish and encourage you to take consideration into this matter.”

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