Brigade Commander Makes General

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Augustus Leon Collins has become the first black general in the Mississippi National Guard.

Collins, a Booneville native and 28-year Guard veteran, is currently commander of the 155th Brigade Combat Team in Iraq.

The brigade, which is made up of 3,500 Mississippi Guard soldiers and others from Vermont and Arkansas, trained at Camp Shelby near Hattiesburg and deployed in January.

When Collins was tapped for promotion last November, he said the historical designation as the first black general in the Mississippi National Guard is less important to him than the performance of the troops under his command.

Maj. Gen. Harold A. Cross, the adjutant general of Mississippi, agreed, saying qualifications and leadership ability are the criteria by which an officer is judged in the Mississippi National Guard.