FROM MAJ. GEN. (S.C.) THOMAS STOWE MULLIKIN,
Commander of the South Carolina State Guard and
President of the State Guard Association of the United States (SGAUS).
Members of SGAUS, there is an air of great excitement and anticipation across the United States as we’ve now ushered in new executive leadership, not only at the federal level, but in many instances at the individual state level. Here in S.C., for instance, former Gov. Nikki Haley is the new U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. She has been succeeded by our new Gov. (former Lt. Gov.) Henry McMaster, a personal friend of many years.
Like Ambassador Haley when she was in the governor’s mansion, Gov. McMaster is now – among his myriad other powers and titles – the commander-in-chief of the S.C State Guard.
In many ways and in addition to the aforementioned “excitement and anticipation,” Gov. McMaster ushers in a new era of tremendous opportunity for the entire S.C. Military Dept. (SCMD) – which includes the S.C. Army National Guard, the S.C. Air National Guard, the Emergency Management Div. and the S.C. State Guard among other SCMD agencies – of which the S.C. State Guard is the SCMD’s state defense force component.
As has been reported in SDF Times, the S.C. State Guard has experienced tremendous change over the past two-to-three years in terms of standards, mission, relevancy, reputation, and overall professionalism. Now under the leadership of Gov. McMaster, S.C. adjutant general Maj. Gen. Bob Livingston (who commands the SCMD) and myself; the S.C. State Guard’s dramatic sea-change from what I have referred to as “good to great to elite” will continue to progress in ways not previously imagined.
But it’s not simply my state that I am passionate about. I want to – and will – bring this concept of “good to great to elite” to all of our nation’s state defense forces through SGAUS. And I challenge all of our state commander’s to demand the same from their respective all-volunteer state defense force organizations.
State defense forces are vital to the safety and security of our states. We’ve proven that time-and-again here in S.C., but perhaps most notably when we were called to respond to Hurricanes Joaquin in 2015 and Matthew in 2016 through our professional lanes – providing physicians and other medical professionals, attorneys, engineers, university professors, military experts, law enforcement professionals, communications experts and various solutions people – all of whom played key roles in mitigating the damage and other effects of the natural disasters wrought by those storms. Not to mention the S.C. State Guard selected smart, fit personnel from among our ranks, trained them, organized them into three geographic-specific teams; allowing us to then field one of the nation’s premier search-and-rescue capabilities which proved to be second-to-none.
These are lanes and dynamics we plan to achieve for all state defense forces through SGAUS. And we will, but we need your support.
SGAUS is growing; our membership increased by 26 percent in 2016, and that percentage continues to climb.
Still, there is much work to do at the state and national levels, and we want everyone to be involved. We have an upcoming communications exercise sponsored by the U.S. Army Network Enterprise Technology Command (NETCOM). That exercise will be held Mar. 31, 2017. We have an upcoming JAG conference in Nashville, TN, Apr. 8. And we have our annual SGAUS conference, slated for Sept. 22-24, here in my home state of S.C. in the resort city of Myrtle Beach.
Please take a look at the SGAUS website. Yes, it’s still a work-in-progress, but we now have several new academies featured on the site. You’ll also notice, SGAUS has partnered with Rothco, the world’s foremost supplier of military, tactical, outdoor clothing and gear.
In parting, let me add our deadline to apply for the 2017 SGAUS Scholarship and Annual Conference Stipend is Mar. 15; as is the deadline for all state defense force commanders to submit for consideration their respective state Soldiers, NCOs, and Officers of the Year.
Thank you all for your service to your individual states, our national organization, and for the nation as a whole. Please don’t hesitate to let me know how I, my staff or my office may be of service to you.