By W. Thomas Smith Jr.
COLUMBIA, S.C. – Col. Thomas Stowe Mullikin was named deputy commander for operations, S.C. State Guard, during ceremonies in which he also was promoted to Colonel (0-6), Tuesday.
Mullikin – a Camden, S.C.-based environmental attorney, author, international lecturer, military officer, and global expedition leader – is a former advisor and campaign manager to senior members of Congress and U.S. presidential candidates from both Republican and Democrat parties. He is founder and pres. of the Mullikin Law Firm and Global Eco Adventures, a non-profit organization developed and “dedicated to visiting and studying the Earth’s most fragile ecosystems.”
An avid big-game hunter, mountain climber and SCUBA diver, Mullikin has chalked up multiple dives in five oceans (his most recent off Antarctica). He climbed Africa’s Mount Kilimanjaro in 2010. This month, he’ll travel to Washington State to climb Mount Rainier. In June, he’ll climb Alaska’s Mount McKinley. And in Aug., he’ll lead a safari expedition to Namibia.
Mullikin’s service in the S.C. State Guard is an extension of his years of military service; first as a U.S. Army JAG lawyer (USAR) and attached as an international legal officer to a civil affairs brigade, followed by a stint with the S.C. Military Dept.’s Joint Services Det. (JSD). His decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal, Army Achievement Medal, and the Global War on Terror Service Medal.
“The S.C. State Guard has served an important defense role since the wars of the Colonial era,” says Mullikin. “Today our mission is no less important. Perhaps its necessity and relevance is even greater in the post-9/11 world. As such – and in my capacity as deputy commander of operations – we will continue this proud tradition by training for our missions and standing ready to serve our great state during time of need whether it be responding to catastrophic storms, major industrial accidents, or terrorist threats to the homeland.”
Attending Tuesday’s ceremony were members of Mullikin’s family, friends, and fellow S.C. Military Dept. (SCMD) officers, including Maj. Gen. John B. Grimball, commander of JSD; and Brig. Gen. Richard Eckstrom, comptroller general of S.C. and commander of the State Guard.
“Col. Mullikin brings tremendous talent and experience to our State Guard,” says Brig. Gen. Eckstrom. “As S.C. government grapples with tightening budgets, we know it’ll be turning more and more to the State Guard, a highly trained organization of nearly 1,000 members, all of whom serve our state without pay. Col. Mullikin exemplifies the commitment and professionalism that characterizes State Guard members.”
The State Guard, which traces its lineage back to the early state militia of 1670, is today an all-volunteer state defense-force component of the broader SCMD.
The SCMD is composed of the adjutant general’s headquarters, the S.C. Army National Guard, the S.C. Air National Guard, the S.C. State Guard, the Joint Services Detachment, the Emergency Management Division, and various other elements.
– W. Thomas Smith Jr. is a former U.S. Marine rifle-squad leader and counterterrorism instructor who writes about military/defense issues and has covered conflict in the Balkans, on the West Bank, in Iraq and Lebanon. He directs the U.S. Counterterrorism Advisory Team. He is the author of six books, and his articles appear in a variety of publications. Smith’s website is uswriter.com.