A Texas native and son of a WWII veteran, Rear Adm. McCollum is a 1983 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy. His first assignment was in Shanghai, China, in a language study abroad program for Mandarin Chinese. He earned his designation as a qualified surface warfare officer in 1985, and holds a Master of Science degree in Computer Systems Management from the University of Maryland, University College.
Following selection to flag rank, McCollum was assigned as deputy commander, Navy Expeditionary Combat Command. In 2012, McCollum assumed his present duties as Reserve deputy director, Maritime Headquarters, U. S. Fleet Forces Command.
While on active duty, his sea tours included: USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19), USS Kinkaid (DD 965) and USS Valley Forge (CG 50) which helped in the establishment of Operation Southern Watch over Southern Iraq and support of Operation Restore Hope in Mogadishu, Somalia. Ashore, he served in the Pentagon as naval aide to the chief of naval operations.
McCollum transitioned to the Reserve component in 1993. His commanding officer tours included: U. S. Fleet Forces Command, Joint Task Force Unit 300; Maritime Expeditionary Security Squadron One where he was mobilized as commander, Task Group 56.5 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom to protect the ports, waterways, and approaches to Kuwait and Iraq; Sealift Logistics Command Far East Detachment 102; Naval Emergency Preparedness Liaison officer (NEPLO) for the State of Arkansas where he helped coordinate the initial response effort for the recovery of the Space Shuttle Columbia; and Mobile Inshore Undersea Warfare Unit 109 (formerly Naval Coastal Warfare community).
McCollum is a graduate of CAPSTONE, the Armed Forces Staff College Advanced Joint Professional Military Education curriculum, and the Royal Australian Naval Staff College in Sydney.
McCollum’s military decorations include: Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal (5 awards), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation medal (2 awards), and various other campaign medals and ribbons.