Two-star commander will step down as head of historic state defense force
COLUMBIA, S.C. – MAJOR GENERAL THOMAS STOWE “TOM” MULLIKIN will retire from command of the all-volunteer South Carolina State Guard (SCSG) during a formal change-of-command ceremony, Sat. Dec. 1, at the S.C. State House in Columbia. The incoming commander is Brig. Gen. Leon Lott, sheriff of Richland County who previously held the post of deputy commander SCSG.
MG Mullikin, who was recently appointed by S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster to chair the state’s new Flood Commission, has served in varying leadership and command capacities in both the SCSG and the S.C. Military Department’s Joint Services Det. (SCMD-JSD) as well as the Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps, U.S. Army Reserve.
Mullikin is an attorney, university professor, and global expedition leader specializing in energy and environmental issues and representing several international organizations and multi-national corporations, worldwide.
As SCSG commander, Mullikin has been widely described as the SCSG’s “great sea-change agent,” having transformed the SCSG into one of the state’s and nation’s premier search-and-rescue organizations and a “model” U.S. Code title 32 state defense force organization providing the full spectrum of emergency and disaster-response services to the citizens of South Carolina at virtually no cost to the state.
Prior to his command of the SCSG, Mullikin served as a U.S. Army JAG officer; initially with the 12th Legal Support Organization where he served as a trial counsel, then as International Legal Officer for the 360th Civil Affairs Brigade (Airborne). Mullikin also served in a civilian capacity as special assistant to the Chief Prosecutor, Military Commissions, U.S. Department of Defense.
Following his U.S. Army service, Mullikin was commissioned into JSD where he served as JAG officer and as a leader with the Counterterrorism Advisory Team, helping organize and arrange briefings by top-tier counterterrorism experts for the SCMD.
Transferring from JSD, Mullikin became deputy commander and chief of staff for the SCSG. In 2014, he assumed command of the SCSG from outgoing commander Maj. Gen. Richard Eckstrom, the state’s long-time comptroller general.
Mullikin has served as president of the State Guard Association of the United States. He is U.S. Army Master Fitness Trainer (graduate of the U.S. Army Physical Fitness School) and a self-defense instructor (black belt in Karate). He serves as a special deputy and SCUBA-diving instructor with the Richland County Sheriff’s Department’s Underwater Recovery Unit. He is a PADI Master Diver and dive instructor with recorded dives in all of the Earth’s oceans including certification as a polar diver for his ice dives in the Arctic and Antarctic Oceans. And he has successfully summited the highest mountains in Europe, Africa, Australia, and South America, as well as climbing and traversing mountain ranges across North America and Antarctica.
A “NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC EXPERT,” author, and film-producer; Mullikin has led a variety of expeditions to every continent on Earth; and he has lectured at leading universities and conferences, worldwide. He is a member of the famed Explorers Club and the London-based Royal Geographical Society.
A graduate of both the University of South Carolina (BA) and USC’s School of Law, Mullikin serves as research professor at Coastal Carolina University and has served as an Adjunct Professor at Universidad San Francisco de Quito in the Galapagos Islands.
Mullikin is the recipient of numerous awards and military decorations, including parachutist badges from several foreign airborne forces. He is an Honorary Green Beret – Special Forces Association, S.C. Chapter – and a recipient of the Order of the Palmetto, South Carolina’s highest award.
Maj. Gen. Mullikin is married to the former Virginia Ann Pitsenbarger, also an attorney. Together, they have four children and two grandchildren.
Established as the Provincial Militia in 1670, the all-volunteer SCSG is a state defense force organization within the S.C. Military Department, which includes the S.C. Army National Guard, the S.C. Air National Guard, the state’s Emergency Management Division, and the SCSG among other elements. The SCSG’s current personnel numbers are just under 1,000 Guardsmen, including retired and former U.S. Army Special Forces operators, Army Rangers, U.S. Marine infantrymen, engineers, medical professionals and law-enforcement officers among others.
– Mullikin is featured in the Dec. 2018 edition of American Legion magazine.