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).
Our State Defense Forces stand at the threshold of even greater opportunity to serve our states and nation. The confluence of our federal budget crisis, state budget difficulties, increased extreme weather systems and threats of terrorism, provide a challenging environment that our troops can provide a meaningful solution. We now have an established track record of excellence upon which we can build an even more elite force.
Members of SGAUS, as you may know, I have just come off of a whirlwind U.S. congressional campaign launched with broad-based support. It was an extraordinary experience in which the great success of our South Carolina State Guard was made an issue. We enjoyed particularly strong support among military veterans throughout the district and across the state. And we received the published endorsements of several of those veterans, including two MEDAL OF HONOR recipients – Maj. Gen. Jim Livingston, U.S. Marine Corps (Ret.) and LT Mike Thornton, U.S. Navy SEALs (Ret.). Their stories by the way, like all recipients of our nation’s highest award for combat valor, are beyond remarkable. But it wasn’t simply support and endorsements. I had the opportunity to sit down with scores of veterans – men and women who have served this nation in both peace and in war – currently serving U.S. military leaders, and various political leaders (including Pres. Trump). And based on those conversations and many others, I gained a deeper personal appreciation for both the relevancy of our nation’s state defense forces (SDFs) and the importance of SDFs in terms of the volunteer manpower and professional expertise we bring to the overall emergency response apparatus of our respective states.
With the ever-increasing operational tempo of our federal forces deploying overseas and always training to deploy, and with the increasing instability and uncertainty throughout the world; SDFs are needed now more than ever.
This reality has already been recognized right here in South Carolina wherein the S.C. Military Dept. (SCMD) is responsible for three demanding responsibilities as I see them. The SCMD, as you may know, 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 agencies – of which the S.C. State Guard is the SCMD’s state defense force component. The SCMD’s three broad responsibilities are 1) providing forces to protect our national interests overseas, 2) protecting our citizens here at home (in the event of natural or man-made disaster), and 3) constantly training and conditioning our personnel to meet the challenges of the first two. We as members of the S.C. State Guard are responsible for providing professional support to state operations. That S.C. State Guard support includes the ability – on very short notice – to regionally deploy physicians and other medical professionals, engineers, search-and-rescue experts, attorneys and law enforcement professionals, communications experts and various other solutions people (and these are but a few of our professional lanes). In this and in other ways, we are responsible for assisting the various emergency-response components of our state and overall protecting our state’s citizens. There is so much more, and so much in this that we plan to address as regards all of our SDF’s and our association at our annual SGAUS conference, slated for Sept. 2224, here in my home state of S.C. in the resort city of Myrtle Beach. Lt. Col. Scott Malyerck, S.C. State Guard, will have more on the convention in this issue. Thank you all for your service. Thank you for your support. And we look forward to seeing you in Sept. In the meantime, please don’t hesitate to let me know how I, my staff or my office may be of service to you.
President MG(SC) Thomas Mullikin
State Guard Association of the United States