JCJC’s Honors College students hear from the Mississippi Adjutant General
Written By: Teresa Martin
Email Address: email@example.com
Date Submitted: 2012-11-29 10:53:52
ELLISVILLE – The states’ Adjutant General, Major General Augustus Collins proudly shared with Jones County Junior College Honors Institute students that his junior college education opened the doors to leadership for him. As the commander of both the Army and Air National Guard, Collins emphasized not only the importance of an education but he also shared how it changed his future.
“I never would have gone to Ole Miss, Jackson State, the Army War College, the National Guard and I would not be here today in this career, if I had not been encouraged to attend and graduate from Northeast Community College,” said one of the two inaugural inductees of NECC’s Alumni Hall of Fame. “Community/Junior Colleges are for people like me because it gave me, and a lot of us, opportunities we wouldn’t normally have to get an academic degree, because of finances or the uncertainty about our educational future. Two-year colleges play an important role in the state, too.” said Collins.
The economical choice for education, Collins said, was the beginning of many leadership opportunities over his 30 years of military service. He began his career as a platoon leader in Company C, 1st Battalion of the 198th Armor Regiment in Iuka, MS and was inspired by a drill sergeant who saw leadership potential in him. Collins admitted he didn’t think of himself as a leader at the time. He joined the National Guard to help pay for college.
“He encouraged me to sign up for Officer Candidate School which has led to various command and staff positions at every level of service in the traditional and Active Guard Reserve,” said Collins. “It prepared me for today.”
The highly decorated officer encouraged JCJC students to be open minded about their own futures as he listed other important leadership qualities he has recognized over the years. Collins said he discovered his passion for serving in the military which drove him to giving his best effort in every task. One of the more challenging times in his military career was serving in Operation Desert Shield/Storm and commanding the 155th Armored Brigade Combat Team during combat operations in Operation Iraqi Freedom from 2004 through 2006.
“Losing soldiers is very difficult and we lost 27 soldiers in one year because of IED’s,” said Collins.
Taking responsibility in the good times and the difficult times is also a sign of a good leader. Collins shared how the actions of military leaders can often motivate soldiers negatively.
“Generals can’t publically criticize the administration without expecting to be relieved of duty. It influences the allegiance of the soldiers,” Collins said. “That was the reason why General Stanley McChrystal was replaced.”
JCJC students also had the chance to ask questions, including why Collins returned to service to accept the Army’s commanding position after being retired for five years. He simply replied, “I still had something to offer.”
Collins explained one of his goals for Mississippi’s veterans includes better preparing them for their return to civilian life, like having jobs upon their return and offering job preparation skills like resume’ writing and interviewing techniques.