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).
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
“It’s about selflessness” said MG Thomas Mullikin, Commander of the South Carolina State Guard.
Hurricanes, flooding, earthquakes! Right now, it is nearly impossible to miss the news of one natural disaster or another across North America. Those crises helped set the backdrop for the September SGAUS conference in Myrtle Beach. MG Thomas Mullikin, current President of SGAUS, believes State Defense Forces (SDF) have a role to play in helping people prepare and recover during a crisis.
“We’re looking to be a force multiplier,” he said. “We can fill the gaps.”
However, the role of SDFs varies. That creates a challenge for SGAUS. Each state is different.
“We are not command and control military; each state has unique challenges,” Mullikin said. “It’s a constant balancing act.”
In its role as a professional organization, SGAUS can help set guidelines that can cross state lines. “We can establish best practices,” Mullikin said. “These best practices can then inform what each SDF does in its own practice.”
SGAUS is accomplishing this mission by facilitating the formation of standards in several areas including medical, legal, search and rescue and chaplain training.
SDFs share something else, according to Mullikin, the desire to serve.
“There is a different human dynamic,” he said. “We don’t pay them; we’re giving an opportunity to give back.” That is what drives most soldiers in every state. Volunteers are willing and able to give their time and expertise without any financial payback.
“They can find fulfillment they wouldn’t get with pay,” he said. “It’s selflessness.”
Mullikin believes that desire to serve will continue as SGAUS develops its future plans. The SGAUS National Conference concluded 23 September 2017. The 2018 Conference will be held in Long Beach, California in late September or early October.