Deputy wins prestigious Guard award

Published 11:04 am Friday, August 15, 2014


A Warren County deputy has won one of the National Guard’s most prestigious leadership awards.

Deputy Brandon Jones graduated Sunday from Officer Candidate School and was awarded the Erickson Trophy and a leadership award.

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“I actually didn’t see it coming at all,” Jones said. “When it happened I was speechless.”

The Erickson Trophy, named after the late Maj. Gen. Edgar C. Erickson, is awarded to each state’s most distinguished officer school graduate.

“I’ve served a lot of commanders and I’ve never had one I know of who had ever won the Erickson award,” said Undersheriff Jeff Riggs, who is a command sergeant major with 34 years in the Mississippi National Guard. “It’s such a prestigious thing.”

Jones, a 2002 Warren Central High School graduate, began working with the Hattiesburg Police Department while attending the University of Southern Mississippi. He enlisted in the Mississippi National Guard in 2012.

“I wanted to go in when I was 18, but my father wanted me to go to college,” Jones said of his military service. Jones’ father, Dennis, died in 2008.

In 2010, after earning his degree in criminal justice, Jones came home to fulfill a promise he had made to his father and his family.

“I moved back here and bought his house,” Jones said.

After that, Jones felt he could finally follow his dream of enlisting in the armed forces.

He married his wife, Brittney Jones, after joining the Guard but before shipping out to basic training.

“I came back from the honeymoon and went to the military,” Jones said.

The training, of course, was different than police work, yet they compliment each other well, he said.

“One makes me better at the other, and that helps me both ways,” he said.

Support from the sheriff’s department and his family have helped Jones succeed in the military, he said. The sheriff’s department has been able to schedule his work shifts around the time he needed to complete his military training, Jones said.

Sheriff Martin Pace said he is proud of Jones’ accomplishments.

“The majority of our officers are either college educated or have military experience. Brandon is a good example of our partnership with the military. It gives our community well-trained professional officers,” Pace said.

Jones, now a second lieutenant, is scheduled to take a platoon command with the 288th Sapper Company in Houston. He and his wife have a daughter, Brooklyn.

“She’s been my fuel every since she was born,” Jones said. “She’s my mini-me.”