Posted in Military History

A Tribute to my father on the 75th anniversary of the NORMANDY INVASION

By Tom Mullikin

[A version of this story was published by Canada Free Press, July 27, 2010.]

NORMANDY, FRANCE – A cold, rainy day greets my wife and me. The day is July 14, 2010. It’s a day, weatherwise, that might have easily resembled the conditions encountered by Allied soldiers as they fought their way from the sea onto the enemy held shoreline, followed by the inexorable grind inland toward the goal of ending the tyranny of Nazi Germany.

More than 66 years after the Normandy Invasion, June 6, 1944 [today on the 75th anniversary of that invasion], we begin our journey attempting to get our heads around the experiences of my father, Charlie Mullikin, an American soldier who landed here on the Normandy coast and was ultimately wounded in action.

On this day, we are enjoying SCUBA diving onto many the great shipwrecks lying offshore. White caps are pounding our small rubber Zodiac boat. Visibility is near zero—no more than five feet at best. I can only imagine the violent and terrible cold shock to those American, British, and Canadian soldiers carrying their packs, weapons, and ammunition through the bloody, churning surf.

I am also reminded of the Navy frogmen, predecessors to our modern Navy SEALs, who suffered 50-percent casualties as they removed the defensive obstacles placed on the beach and in the surf by the Germans.

I made this trek to celebrate my 50th birthday. More importantly, I wanted to recognize the price of freedom and remember the selfless contributions made by my father and other citizen soldiers of his era—appropriately christened, “The Greatest Generation.”

 Continue reading “A Tribute to my father on the 75th anniversary of the NORMANDY INVASION”

Posted in Articles

Marines honored by ARMY NORTH representative

Colonels Steven B. Vitali (left) and W. Thomas Smith Jr.

By Alex Junes-Ward

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Colonels Steven B. Vitali and W. Thomas Smith Jr. were honored, May 31, by the senior representative of U.S. ARMY NORTH for the Palmetto State, who recognized and commended both men for their service as members of the S.C. Floodwater Commission’s National Security Task Force (NSTF) and for their previous military service.

Col. Bill Connor – a U.S. Army infantry officer, the emergency preparedness liaison officer (EPLO) for South Carolina, and chairman of the NSTF – presented plaques to Vitali and Smith during ceremonies at the S.C. State House, May 31.

Vitali, who serves as NSTF’s operations officer, is a retired Marine infantry and logistics officer, and a veteran of both the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In Iraq, he was assistant chief of staff for the II Marine Expeditionary Force. In Afghanistan, he was senior adviser to the 201st Afghan National Army Corps, commanding officer of the 201st Afghan Regional Corps Advisory Group, and the sole Marine Corps maneuver commander in that country during the period of his deployment. Vitali, who holds a black belt in Karate, is also a member of the South Carolina Black Belt Hall of Fame.

Smith, who serves as NSTF’s executive secretary, is a former U.S. Marine Infantry leader, counterterrorism instructor, and a SWAT team officer in the nuclear industry. As a war correspondent he twice-traveled to Iraq, venturing across much of that country with British contract security forces, U.S. Army cavalry, and a Marine expeditionary unit during the war from Basra to Fallujah to Al Qaim on the Syrian border. He also served as an officer in the S.C. Military Dept. where among his many responsibilities he was founding director of the Counterterrorism Task Force before retiring. Smith is a military technical consultant and a New York Times bestselling editor. Continue reading “Marines honored by ARMY NORTH representative”

Posted in Articles

Retired S.C. State Guard commander receives Exceptional Service Medal

By Alex Junes-Ward

COLUMBIA, S.C. – U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Van McCarty – the newly sworn adjutant general of South Carolina – presented the EXCEPTIONAL SERVICE MEDAL to Maj. Gen. Tom Mullikin, retired commander of the S.C. State Guard (SCSG) and a former U.S. Army officer, during ceremonies at the Adjutant General’s headquarters building, Mon., Mar. 11.

S.C. Adjutant General Maj. Gen. McCarty (left) and Maj. Gen. Mullikin.

The award, approved Jan. 28 by the previous adjutant general, Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Robert Livingston, recognized Mullikin’s “extraordinary leadership” to the state of S.C. as an officer serving in the S.C. Military Dept. (SCMD), beginning with his service in the SCMD’s Joint Services Detachment (JSD) and culminating in his command of the SCSG.

“Tom Mullikin is a dynamic, effective, and principled leader; and a man of great character who publicly professes his faith in his service,” said McCarty. “As commander of the SCSG, he had a bold vision for the organization and a tireless work ethic to accomplish it.”

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Posted in Articles

Mullikin honored by ARMY NORTH representative

By Alex Junes-Ward

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Tom Mullikin, recently appointed chairman of the South Carolina Floodwater Commission (SCFC), was honored by Col. Bill Connor, senior representative of U.S. ARMY NORTH for the Palmetto State, who recognized Mullikin’s service to the state of South Carolina while in command of the S.C. State Guard from which he retired Dec. 1, 2018.

Connor, the emergency preparedness liaison officer (EPLO) for South Carolina, presented Mullikin with a plaque following a series of meetings at the State Emergency Operations Center, Feb. 8.

Connor and Mullikin

A portion of the plaque reads, “For exemplary leadership while in command of the South Carolina State Guard, 2014-2018.”

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Posted in Articles

Floodwater Commission’s NATIONAL SECURITY TASK FORCE is forging ahead

By Bill Connor

Connor

The South Carolina Floodwater Commission may well prove to be one of the more important legacy-defining efforts of Gov. Henry McMaster’s administration. After all, what’s more important than developing and putting into action plans aimed at alleviating and mitigating disastrous flood impacts to South Carolina: A state which has experienced not one, but four catastrophic and frankly unprecedented flooding events from hurricanes and other tropical storms in less than four years. That four-year span began in late 2015 with the 1,000-year flood event from Hurricane Joaquin which killed 19 people. Property losses to the state from Joaquin were estimated at $1.5-billion. Hurricane Matthew followed in 2016. Irma in 2017. Florence in 2018.

The Governor’s commission, established last Oct. and chaired by global energy and environmental expert Tom Mullikin, was not only necessary, but brilliant. The S.C. Floodwater Commission is easily the most unique gubernatorially created body of its kind, nationwide. As Gov. McMaster said in his State of the State address, “There’s not another one.”

Ten task forces (aka subcommittees) comprise the Commission, everything from a Grid Security Task Force – chaired by Maj. Gen. Bob Livingston, the soon-retiring adjutant general of S.C. – to Smart River and Dam Security, Artificial Reef Systems, Economic Development, Federal Funding, Stakeholder Engagement, Landscape Beautification and Protection, Living Shoreline, and Infrastructure and Shoreline Armoring Task Forces.

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Posted in Society

THE CASE FOR SOLAR: The Sleeping Giant of the American Energy Industry

By Tom Mullikin

CAMDEN, S.C. – Ill-informed concerns about solar energy should be laid to rest and American businesses – which have yet to fully embrace the economic and environmental benefits of solar power – should give this limitless source of clean, efficient energy its due.

Every organization from the smallest local business operation to the world’s largest manufacturers and multi-national corporations all share a common need: affordable and reliable power. Solar power provides a cost effective solution for the energy challenges all businesses face, but many businesspeople are not aware of these benefits or have been deterred from exploring solar power options because of outdated and misinformed notions about solar power. Specifically, concerns about the around the clock capabilities and inclement weather performance of solar power persist despite the fact that advances in the industry address these past challenges. Improved technology in storage along with the exponential cost decreases in equipment make solar power a viable option for all energy users. Simply put, solar works.

While solar power offers environmental benefits, arguably the most attractive quality of solar is cost. Solar is now the least-expensive source of energy in 60 countries around the world, and this expense has decreased dramatically: The price of one solar panel per watt, for example, dropped from $101.05 in 1975 to $0.37 in 2017. The cost per watt also decreases as the system size increases, so large corporations with large energy needs will also reap the economic advantages that come with quantity of scale.

Over a hundred companies listed among the Fortune 500 eager invest in solar energy, including Apple, Walmart, and Intel. Any shrewd businessperson or follower of the successful advances and trends of these companies, would do well to recognize the remarkable reliability of solar power as well as the tangible savings, benefits, and overall cost-efficiency that solar power provides their various business-operations, day-in-and-day-out, both in the near term and for decades to come.

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Posted in Uncategorized

Global Eco Adventures graduates three new “Ninja Divers” in Nassau

South Carolinians dive with sharks during advanced SCUBA training in the Bahamas

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Global expedition leader Tom Mullikin of Camden, South Carolina-based Global Eco Adventures (GEA) trained and graduated three new specialist SCUBA divers through GEA’s unique “Ninja Diver Shark Awareness” program off Nassau, earlier this month.

The program – designed to educate SCUBA divers and other marine-exploration enthusiasts about sharks, the nature of sharks, shark habitats, and the diversity and numbers of shark populations worldwide – incorporates intermediate and advanced SCUBA diving and shark diving skills with martial-arts breathing techniques (which is why the title, “ninja diver”) to better enable divers operating in potentially dangerous waters.

“It’s a unique combination which has proven to be extremely effective,” says Mullikin; GEA’s founding president, the ninja-diver course developer and the dive instructor conducting the training in the Bahamas, July 6-9, 2018. “This 15-hour course and subsequent certification involves extensive training in martial arts breathing exercises – also taught at the Mullikin Martial Arts Studio in Camden – which allows students to better control their breathing while operating for an extended period of time in open water, underwater.”

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Posted in Uncategorized

S.C. Free Clinic Association recognized by U.S. Congress

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The South Carolina Free Clinic Association (SCFCA) and the association’s member clinics were recognized by U.S. Congressman Ralph Norman on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives, Thurs., June 7, 2018: The five-minute recognition airing live on C-SPAN.

[Please see https://tinyurl.com/ydd9uxc6]

“The South Carolina Free Clinic Association is an independent, nonprofit membership organization that provides training, research, resource development and advocacy to member free clinics,” said Congressman Norman, who represents S.C. from the Palmetto State’s 5th Congressional District. “The South Carolina Free Clinic Association represents and supports our state’s network of 40 free clinics in 25 counties across S.C. The member free clinics provide comprehensive care to economically disadvantaged individuals all across our great state including those individuals who are both uninsured and the underinsured.”

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