Brigadier General “Rock” Collins was commissioned a Second Lieutenant after receiving his Bachelors of Arts Degree from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota in May 1984. After graduation from The Basic School in January 1985, Second Lieutenant Collins was assigned to the Motor Transport Officers Course at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Upon completion, he was assigned to Detachment Bravo, 1st FSSG at MCAS El Toro, California. During his tour he served as Operations Officer, Intelligence Officer, Logistics Officer, and Ordnance Officer.
In June 1986, First Lieutenant Collins reported to NAS Pensacola, Florida for primary flight training where he was awarded Commodore’s List with Distinction. He was then transferred to NAS Meridian, Mississippi for intermediate and advanced flight training. Upon completion of advanced training, First Lieutenant Collins was awarded his Wings of Gold and transferred to NAS Lemoore for F/A-18 training.
Upon completion of F/A-18 training First Lieutenant Collins was transferred to MCAS El Toro, California to join the “Black Knights” of VMFA-314. While with the “Black Knights,” Captain Collins deployed to MCAS Iwukuni and to the Middle East for Operations Desert Shield / Desert Storm. He served as overall Mission Commander and Strike Lead during numerous combat operations and held positions as Power Line Officer, Airframes Officer, and Intelligence Officer.
In July 1991, Captain Collins was transferred to the Naval Strike Warfare Center at NAS Fallon, Nevada where he assumed duties as an instructor and the Joint Forces Strike Integration subject matter expert. During his tour, he attended Weapons and Tactics Instructor Course and held billets as Operations Officer, Adversary Program Manager, and Assistant Range Officer. After his tour he was assigned to Amphibious Warfare School in Quantico, Virginia as a student and was an Honor Graduate in May 1995.
Major Collins returned to the “Black Knights” of VMFA-314 at MCAS El Toro, California and participated in the BRAC move to MCAS Miramar, California. He also participated in multiple squadron deployments and work-ups, for the squadron’s around the world cruise, while serving as the Aircraft Maintenance Officer.
In June 1997 Major Collins transferred to the Marine Corps Reserve. He was hired by United Airlines and has since qualified on the DC-10, 737, 757, and 767.
From September 1997 to April 2004 Major Collins flew with the “Smokes” of VMFA-134 at MCAS Miramar, California. During this 6 ½ year period he participated in three Hawaii Combined Arms Exercises from MCB Kaneohe Bay, numerous Combined Arm Exercises aboard MCB 29 Palms, California, and multiple squadron deployments. He held positions as Operations Officer, Aircraft Maintenance Officer, and Executive Officer.
Lieutenant Colonel Collins transferred to Fort Worth and assumed command of VMFA-112 in April 2004. He led the “Cowboys” to their first full deployment since WWII. During this tour he deployed with the squadron to Japan, Guam, Australia, Norway, England, MCB Kaneohe Bay, and numerous CONUS locations. In April 2006, following his change of command, Colonel Collins assumed active duty orders as Site Commander, Marine Aircraft Group 41, Fort Worth, Texas.
In January 2007, he was mobilized and assumed his duties as Assistant Chief of Staff G-5, Future Operations, 4th MAW, in New Orleans, Louisiana. There he was actively working the restructure of 4th MAW, Marine Aviation Plan, and BRAC. In April 2008, Colonel Collins transferred to NAS Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth, Texas and assumed the Deputy Group Commander for MAG-41. During this tour he deployed and served as Battle Director in the Combined Air Operations Center, Qatar. Brigadier General Collins is currently serving as Deputy Commanding General (Mobilization) for II Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
Brigadier General Collins’ personal decorations include: Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal gold star in lieu of second award, Air Medal two gold stars in lieu of third award with Combat “V” and bronze numeral 4, Navy
Commendation Medal gold star in lieu of second award with Combat “V”, Navy Achievement Medal two gold stars in lieu of third award, Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal.