JCJC Black History Celebration features the state's Adjutant General, Augustus Collins

ELLISVILLE, MS (WDAM) - This is a news release from Jones County Junior College

Jones County Junior College's Office of Student Affairs will be hosting its annual Black History Celebration on Tuesday, February 11, at 10:15 a.m. in the JCJC Fine Arts Auditorium.  The program's theme, "Moving Forward, One Step at a Time," will feature a guest speaker and special musical guests, the Laurel High School Gospel Choir. The public is invited to this free event.

"The purpose of this Black History program is to remind us all how we can use the struggles in life to make us better people.  With a background as diverse as the keynote speaker, Adjutant General Augustus Collins, I believe you can learn something from his life experiences to help anyone move forward in their own life," said JCJC Dean of Students, Dr. Samuel Jones.

Mississippi's Adjutant General, Major General Augustus Collins was appointed by Governor Phil Bryant on January 11, 2012 to serve as the commanding General of both the Mississippi Army and Air National Guard.  He is responsible for providing the state and the U.S. with a ready military and/or security force. More than 12,275 citizen soldiers and airmen are equipped and trained to respond to any emergency.  General Collins directs the Mississippi Military Department and oversees the development and coordination of all policies, plans and programs of the Mississippi National Guard in concert with the Governor and legislature.

Prior to this appointment, he served on active duty in Operation Desert Shield/Storm as well as commanding the 155th Armored Brigade Combat Team during combat operations in Operation Iraqi Freedom from 2004-2006.  General Collins also served as Director, Mobilization Forces, U.S. Army Forces Command from February 2006 to October 2007.  Collins was promoted to brigadier general on May 10, 2005 while he was in Iraq, making him the first African American to attain the rank of general officer in the history of the Mississippi National Guard.

Shortly after retiring in 2007, Governor Haley Barbour appointed Collins to serve as one of three Commissioners for the Mississippi Worker's Compensation Commission.  He held that post until July 2010 when he accepted a position with MINACT Incorporated where he served as the Executive Vice President for Strategic Planning.

The graduate of Northeast Community College earned his Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Mississippi, his Masters of Business Administration from Jackson State University and his Master of Strategic Studies from the United States Army War College.  He began his military career enlisting in the Mississippi Army National Guard's Company B, 1st Battalion, 198th Armor Regiment in March 1977.  General Collins was commissioned in July 1980 upon competition of State Officer Candidate School.  He served in various command and staff positions in units at every level.

Among his many honors, Collins was a 2007 inductee into the University of Mississippi Alumni Hall of Fame, a 2006 inductee into the Mississippi Military Academy Officer Candidate School Hall of Fame, the 2006 Mississippi Trailblazer of the Year, he was awarded the Distinguished Citizen Award by Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc., in 2009, he was the 2012 recipient of the Sam Haskell Spirit of America Award and he was twice named the National Guard Bureau's Minutemen Award.

His military awards and honors include the Legion of Merit, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal, the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, the Iraqi Campaign Medal, the Mississippi Magnolia Cross, the Order of Saint George Medallion for Excellence in Armor and the Combat Action Badge.