Pine Bluff native Calvin D. “Cal” Rollins, now of Cabot, was inducted into the Army Ranger Hall of Fame on Wednesday, July 16, at Fort Benning, Ga.
Staff Sgt. Rollins earned the honor for his service during the Vietnam War where he was an Airborne Ranger and Team Leader assigned to the 101st Airborne Division.
“Other than the birth of my four daughters, it was the most humbling experience in my life,” Rollins said. “I’m just overwhelmed and humbled to be part of it. My heroes are those Rangers who are active duty now. They’ve been fighting for 13 years now. The enemy sees more of them than their families do. They’ve lost arms, legs and hands and they don’t quit. You talk about heroes, man. We may have set the standard in my era but today’s Rangers have far exceeded that.”
Rollins said that up until recently, his family knew little of his wartime experiences.
“I didn’t talk about it much when my girls were growing up so they are just finding out what I did,” Rollins said. “A lot of it I couldn’t talk about because it was classified by the military.”
Rollins said the hall of fame started at Fort Benning in 1992 and includes 365 inductees.
“Out of that number, there are only 176 still alive,” Rollins said.
Amy Rollins said she is proud of her father’s accomplishments and grateful for the recognition he has received with his induction into the Army Ranger Hall of Fame.
“I think Dad’s induction into the Hall of Fame is an incredible honor and we, as a family, could not be more proud of him,” Rollins said. “Being involved in special operations and classified missions, he did not receive the recognition he deserved for so many years. Seeing him now getting that recognition and appreciation is just awesome.”
Rollins said that her father has received the type of support and thanks that was denied him upon his return from Vietnam in the late 1960s.
“He did so much in such a short period of time in such a selfless and heroic way that once people find out, they instinctively want to thank him and let him know he and his contributions are appreciated,” Rollins said. “That didn’t happen when he returned from Vietnam. It is heartwarming to see something being given back to him publicly after all he has done for our country.”
Each Hall of Fame inductee received a specially cast bronze medallion, which was just the latest of many decorations and awards earned by Rollins, including the Bronze Star Service Medal and the Purple Heart with one oak leaf cluster.
In 1968 Rollins was assigned to the United States Special Forces Military Assistance Command Vietnam Studies and Observation Group, where he headed Special Projects.
Rollins was wounded in action in 1969 and medically retired.
Rollins currently works with veterans in the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Program at the Veterans Health Systems Hospital in North Little Rock.