SANTA RITA, Guam (Jan. 30, 2020) – U.S. Naval Base Guam (NBG) Staff Judge Advocate (SJA), Lt. Justin Collins was awarded the Navy Legal Service Command (NLSC) Services Attorney of the Year by Deputy Judge Advocate General (JAG) and Commander, NLSC Rear Adm. Darse E. Crandall, Jan. 10.
“He expertly handled 39 non-judicial punishments and six administrative separations, served as the recorder on two boards of inquiry, guided 27 investigations, conducted six major civilian personnel actions, and provided legal advice on 43 significant administrative law actions,” the award reads. “Additionally, as a Special Assistant United States Attorney, he adjudicated 89 cases that included offenses such as driving under the influence, larceny, fraud, and vehicular misconduct.”
Collins is a graduate of the University of Florida where he received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and went onto law school at George Mason University School of Law in Arlington, Virginia.
“Joining a JAG Corps immediately appealed to my desire to pursue public service and the law. Attending law school near Washington D.C. was wonderful in that it afforded me the opportunity to interact with all of the service branches and discover which was the best fit for me,” Collins said. “After completing an internship with the Navy JAG Corps at the Defense Service Office North at the Washington Navy Yard, I was hooked.”
As a child, Collins initially had aspirations of becoming an aerospace engineer, but explained that after his first physics class in high school he realized engineering was not his forte. He would eventually join his high school debate team when he fell in love with public speaking.
Collins explained that part of his job is helping Capt. Jeffrey Grimes, NBG commanding officer, make informed legal decisions.
“I always try to remember that my advice is just one data point amongst the many that a commander considers on any given decision or issue,” Collins said. “The law does not operate in a vacuum and neither do our commanders. Remembering that the legal implications are only a small segment of the overall picture that a commander, is considering is a humbling practice for a profession that often sees itself as very absolute or black and white.”
In November 2019, Collins was also awarded the Navy Achievement Medal by Capt. Grimes.
“Lt. Collins is an exceptional Naval Officer in addition to being a truly outstanding Judge Advocate General,” Grimes said. “The Navy, the Naval Base Guam community and I are fortunate to have him aboard.”
Collins has served as the SJA for NBG since May 2017.
“Being a part of NBG is the most rewarding part of my job,” Collins said. “No two days at NBG are the same, which is part of what makes this job so exciting. There is always a new issue walking in the door or a new project on the horizon and as we all know the CO never sleeps! Capt. Grimes keeps the pressure on all of us to strive for more than we thought was possible.”