Devon Collins was born in 1985 in Westfield, Massachusetts. She grew up with her siblings, John, who served in the Army, and Dana, who served in the Air Force. Her parents, both stockbrokers, divorced when she was 10 years old. As a girl, she attended the Williston School, a private boarding school in Massachusetts. It provided her the structure she needed, and boarding school life prepared her for West Point. Devon was recruited as a keeper to play Soccer at West Point, and remembers her R-Day (Reception Day) in 2004 vividly. One of her future teammates, Delaney Brown, was her Beast Company (C Company) First Sergeant, and a future Department of History colleague, Greg Hope, was her Squad Leader. She enjoyed the challenges of Beast Barracks (Cadet Basic Training). Devon chose to major in International History and enjoyed working with COL Pilar Ryan. One of her leadership details was serving as a Platoon Sergeant at Buckner, and she felt that she grew from that experience. On the soccer team, she initially found success, but as the years progressed, she developed an attitude, and in hindsight reflects that she had a chip on her shoulder whenever anyone tried to critique her performance. As a result, she lost her starting position. When she graduated, she commissioned as a Quartermaster Officer, and felt that it was the best branch for her because she could be “as hooah as I wanna to be.” As a logistics officer, she has worked in a Brigade Support Battalion, served as a 3-5-1 Platoon Leader, commanded a maintenance company, and is currently a Functional Area 59 Army Strategist. After completing the basic course, she became rigger qualified, which taught her confidence in her equipment. Her first assignment was Germany, where she served in the 173rd Airborne Brigade. As a young Platoon Leader, one of the key tasks she had to learn was how to write NCOERs (Non-Commissioned Officer Evaluation Reports), and she sought advice from the company First Sergeant. In October 2009, she deployed to the Logar Province of Afghanistan, where most of her time was spent conducting presence patrols and key leader engagements (KLEs), not combat logistic patrols (CLPs). She was then assigned as a Brigade Liaison Officer and eventually as the Executive Officer for B Company. Her next assignment was to Ft. Bragg, North Carolina, where she commanded a maintenance company. By this point in her career, she was married, had applied to teach at West Point, and was chasing jumps. On one night jump, she hyperextended her knee, and when she was taken to the hospital to get her knee evaluated, she learned that she was pregnant with her son Javi. Accepted to teach history at the Military Academy, she entered the Ohio State University to earn a Master’s Degree, focusing on World War I POWs. In the History Department, she taught several classes in the Military History Division and led several staff rides, including taking Cadets to Gettysburg and battlefields of the First World War.
In this interview, Devon talks about her childhood, playing soccer, and her USMA and Army experiences. She recalls playing soccer at West Point, including some of her personal struggles with the game. She highlights some of the missions she participated in with the 173rd Airborne Brigade and her deployment to Afghanistan. She shares the story of discovering she was pregnant after being injured on a jump. She discusses her adventures teaching history at West Point and interacting with Cadets. Finally, she reflects on her service and explains what West Point means to her.