FROM BG (MS) Doug Hayhurst,
Commander of the Mississippi State Guard and
President of the State Guard Association of the United States (SGAUS).
We have just completed the State Guard of the United States (SGAUS) annual conference in Columbia South Carolina. I want to thank our executive director BG (TN) Chago Santiago for his tireless efforts and also MG Mullikin and all the members of the South Carolina State Defense Force for their hospitality and efforts in hosting a very successful event.
I would like to say how humbled I am and how much of an honor it is to have been nominated and elected to serve as your president. I want to thank MG Thomas Mullikin for his service and leadership of SGAUS for the last two years. MG Mullikin has taken a good organization and put us on a path for greatness. His tireless efforts will only be realized in the years to come as we strive to carry on his example of excellence.
I retired from the Army in 2010 after returning from my second tour supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. I knew after 41 years that it was time for that part of my service to end. However, I still wanted to serve and became a member of the state defense force in Mississippi a month after retirement. Having been part of many national associations representing me as an enlisted soldier and then an officer I understand the value of such organizations and I joined the State Guard Association of the United States immediately and have attended most of the annual conferences since. I understand the importance of a national organization which can speak as one voice for all of our State Defense Forces at the national level and a repository to share best practices across our respective states which will strengthen and benefit us all.
Each of us have different relationships with our state organizations and different missions as directed by the state, however we all have one common overreaching goal, which is to support the citizens of our respective states and country in their time of need. As we all work for or with the National Guard I believe it is imperative that SDFs project and function in a manner that reflects the professionalism required of a military organization. Since beginning my association with and being introduced to all of the states represented I have been extremely impressed at the professionalism and quality of the individuals which become members of a State Defense Force.
As we go forward the future is bright and with each of us contributing; we all will all be better. With that in mind I want to project the motto “Stronger Together” for the next year.
The annual board meeting of your association took place and has resulted in several initiates which I want to tell you about.
An election of officers took place and I am happy to announce BG Jay A. Coggan, of California, is the first Vice President.
The elected President has the responsibility to appoint the personal staff and I am proud to announce CSM Johnny Marlow of Mississippi will perform the duties as you SGAUS CSM. BG (TX-Ret) David J. Cohen, MD has accepted the position as our command surgeon and I am very pleased that Chaplain (LTC-SC) Donald Hayes has agreed to continue as our command chaplain. These are all dedicated professionals and will represent you and our organization well.
The MEMS Academy, led by SGM Fred Tredy, remains strong and continues to update their student manual to meet current initiates. The popularity of the MEMS program extends well beyond our State Defense Forces and the board approved the academy appointing area directors for states not represented by an SDF. This will expand our membership in SGAUS and give more widespread recognition to our organization.
At the mid-year meeting in San Antonio last April 2018 the board approved the creation of an education committee. We have several different committees representing different disciplines providing excellent educational opportunities in their respective areas. The education committee will oversee the process by which we offer these opportunities and look for additional areas that SGAUS can provide to all our member states.
The Medical Committee proposed the creation of a program of study and instruction collimating in the award of and Expert Medical Badge. Watch for more on this soon.
A couple of years ago SGAUS created and published a strategic 5 year plan, we will be reviewing and updating that plan to ensure continued success as we go forward.
We also have a couple of initiatives to increase our presence in national organizations that will not only get our message out but provide additional opportunities for us all.
I plan on keeping you informed as we accomplish our goals and want to hear from you as well as how we can assist in meeting your needs. Our membership continues to increase and we can only accomplish our goals with your help promoting the benefits of the organization and encouraging all our members to join in helping us be successful through membership and their personal participation.
I and my staff here in Mississippi have already begun the process of planning next year’s conference and offer to each of you the most cordial invitation to celebrate with us next fall. More details to come.
I want to personally wish each of you and your families a very Merry Christmas, a Blessed and prosperous New Year.
Brigadier General (MS)