Booneville native chosen as next adjutant general

Retired Brig. Gen. Augustus L. “Leon” Collins will be named by Gov. Phil Bryant as the Guard’s head.

Northeast President Johnny Allen announced at Tuesday’s regular Board of Trustees meeting that Collins is expected to be sworn in at 1 p.m. today in Jackson. He said Collins’ parents, Leroy and Debra Williams, who live in Booneville, are unable to travel and will be on-campus guests to watch the ceremonies in a video feed. He invited any board members who would like to join them.

A 1977 graduate of Northeast and its ROTC program, the Booneville native went on to complete his undergraduate education at the University of Mississippi, Allen said. He later completed a master’s degree at Jackson State University and strategic studies at the U.S. Army War College in Massachusetts.

Collins was first commissioned as an officer in 1980 and served in various command and staff positions, including company, battalion, regiment, brigade and the adjutant general’s primary staff, according to his National Guard biographical information. He served on active duty in Operation Desert Shield/Storm and served as commander of the 155th Separate Armored Brigade in Iraq as a colonel. He was promoted to brigadier general in May 2005, the first black general in the Mississippi Army National Guard.

In 2006, Collins was appointed director of mobilization forces of the U.S. Army Forces Command, in which he served as the principle general officer assistant to the commander for matters pertaining to mobilization and employment of national guard and U.S. Army reserve units and individuals.

Later in 2006 he was named Trailblazer of the Year at the Mayfest Mississippi Trailblazers Award Ceremony.