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).
Columbia, South Carolina
Marjorie Moore, founder of the Marjorie Moore Charitable Foundation, once said: “Volunteering is the ultimate exercise in democracy. You vote in elections once a year, but when you volunteer, you vote every day about the kind of community you want to live in.”
I wholeheartedly agree. And as you read through the articles submitted by your State Defense Forces (SDF) nationwide, and published here in our newsletter, you’ll soon get the clear picture of what being a volunteer is all about – making each and every state fielding an SDF a better community in which to live. You are the true stand-up citizens, who – not expecting much – are willing to sacrifice time, effort, and personal resources for others.
As we draw nearer to the end of 2018, I am reminded of all the activity, measurable efforts and goals achieved by SDF volunteers in each state. We have emergency management exercises, communication exercises, medical training, statewide maneuvers, overall professional military training, and community support events, all of which augment our National Guard mission capabilities.
Perhaps one of the most important responsibilities of the State Guard Association of the United States (SGAUS) is in the organization’s role in helping make our SDFs more effective and professional through our Professional Military Training (PME) online courses. I am proud to say that since we instituted the PME Academy in March 2016, we have issued more than 800 certificates of completion to our members. We have also issued over 40 completion certificates in our popular JAG Academy. The popularity of these courses has more than exceeded our expectations, and it is certainly rewarding to me personally to see and realize that our national association is actively contributing to the betterment of each SDF and each member.
SGAUS does not simply support our existing and active SDFs. We are currently working with a number of non-SDF states in their individual quests to establish SDFs. This effort includes Arkansas, Pennsylvania, Florida, and Utah. In some cases, we are even represented in state formation committees. We serve as a source of guidance, experience and a fountain of best practices to these forming SDFs.
Our goal is that, once approved by their respective state governments, these organizations can start running quickly and avoid the pitfalls and mistakes of the past. We know how first impressions can make or break a new or newly forming SDF.
We live on credibility and the confidence of our adjutants general day in and day out. Consequently, this will be a key topic in our upcoming annual conference and meeting.
We want to create and improve on a bank of best-practice documents, regulations, policies and standard operating procedures that can be studied and used by SDFs, nationwide. We know that each state is different, but I propose we concentrate on the commonalities and drive up the level of SDF standardization, as applicable, across the nation. More to come!
Lastly, we are all looking forward to our SGAUS National Conference to be held in downtown Columbia, South Carolina, from Friday, Nov. 30 through Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018. We are striving to make this conference a training-rich opportunity for all members. Please click on the first spot in our slide carousel here on our website’s home-page for more details and information on our venue hotel, The Hilton Columbia Center on Senate Street. Book early. We will have MEMS, medical, JAG, UPAR, chaplain, and search-and-rescue training sessions on Friday and part of Saturday. I look forward to seeing all of you there.