JACKSON–Governor Phil Bryant announced today that he has reappointed Major General Augustus L. (Leon) Collins as the Adjutant General of Mississippi.
As Adjutant General, Collins serves 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 force of more than 12,275 Citizen-Soldiers and Airmen, equipped and trained to respond to any contingency, natural or manmade. He 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.
“General Collins has ably and honorably commanded Mississippi’s men and women in uniform, and I’m delighted he has accepted this reappointment,” Governor Bryant said. “He has dedicated his entire adult life to defending his state and his country, both domestically and on foreign battlefields, and each is better for his service.”
Collins began his career when he enlisted in the Mississippi Army National Guard’s Company B, 1st Battalion, 198th Armor Regiment in March 1977. He was commissioned in July 1980 upon completion of Officer Candidate School. He has served in various command and staff positions in units at every level to include Company, Battalion, Regiment, Brigade, and the Adjutant General’s primary staff in both a traditional and Active Guard Reserve status.
“I’m honored to be reappointed as the adjutant general of the great State of Mississippi,” Collins said. “The Mississippi National Guard is an exceptional team and I look forward to continued service with our Soldiers and Airmen.”
Collins served on active duty in Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm, as well as commanding the 155th Armored Brigade Combat Team during combat operations in Operation Iraqi Freedom from 2004-2006. He was promoted to brigadier general on May 10, 2005 while in Iraq, making him the first African American to attain the rank of general officer in the history of the Mississippi National Guard.
Following his deployment to Iraq, he was assigned as Director of Mobilization, United States Army Forces Command, Fort McPherson, GA. He held that post from February 2006 until he retired in October 2007.
Upon his retirement from the military, Collins was appointed by Governor Haley Barbour to serve as one of the 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.
When Governor Bryant took office in January 2012, he appointed Collins the Adjutant General of Mississippi. He was promoted to the rank of Major General on March 14, 2012.
Collins is a 2007 inductee into the University of Mississippi Alumni Hall of Fame. He was the 2006 Mississippi Trailblazer of the Year. He is a 2006 inductee into the Mississippi Military Academy Officer Candidate School Hall of Fame. He has twice been awarded the National Guard Bureau’s Minuteman Award. 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 presented by the Mississippi Trailblazers.
His military awards and decorations 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.
Collins currently serves on the Board of Directors of Friends of Mississippi Veterans and the Board of Directors for MINACT Inc. He previously served on the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance and the Governor’s Commission for Physical Fitness and Sports. He is a member of the Beta Gamma Boule of Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity and was inducted into the National Collegiate Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi.
Collins is a member of New Hope Baptist Church in Jackson, where he serves on the Deacon Board.
Collins received an Associate of Arts Degree from Northeast Mississippi Junior College, a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree from the University of Mississippi, a Master of Business Administration Degree from Jackson State University, a Master of Strategic Studies from the United States Army War College and has completed the General and Flag Officer Homeland Security Program at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.
Collins is married to the former Debra Fitzgerald. They have two sons, William and Benjamin.