Victory Institute analyst Olen Davidson recently interviewed Tom Mullikin (a former U.S. Army officer, global expedition leader, environmental lawyer, and soon-to-be commander of South Carolina State Guard) on issues of energy security and climate change – and how the veteran community can become part of the solution.
Having just returned from the Republic of Fiji (where he was and is leading an international group of 52 attorneys in a review of proposed mineral and seabed mining legislation for that island nation), environmental attorney Thomas S. Mullikin is not your typical attorney. In fact, there’s nothing typical about Tom Mullikin.
A former U.S. Army officer who has been tapped to command the S.C. State Guard later this month, Mullikin – founder and pres. of the Mullikin Law Firm and Global Eco Adventures – is on a quest to become the first human to have climbed the world’s seven great summits and logged dives in the world’s five oceans. He has already climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro (Africa’s highest peak), Mt. Elbrus (Europe’s highest peak), Mt. Kosciuscko (Australia’s highest peak), Mt. Aconcagua (the highest mountain in the Western Hemisphere), and summits across the North American continent. And he has recorded SCUBA dives in every ocean on earth. In each-and-every adventure, the issue that is foremost on his mind is the environment—why and how it is changing, and how best to preserve it.
We recently discussed global climate change and America’s dangerous dependency on foreign sources of energy with Mullikin. Both are vital issues says this environmental expert who points to a way out of this dependency and also argues that neither issue should ever be politicized.
QUESTION: You urge veterans to speak out in support of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) of shale oil to lessen our dependence on foreign oil. Aside from the obvious (less dependency on Middle East oil), what are some of the other ways that increasing our domestic energy production would affect our military and national security? Read the rest of this post »
In: Geopolitics · Tagged with: energy, national security
Gen. James Jones, former National Security Adviser and Commandant of the Marine Corps, said “Half of our trade deficit goes toward buying oil from abroad, and some of that money ends up in the hands of terrorists.” This has to stop.
About 40 percent of our oil is imported. Much of that comes from countries like Saudi Arabia that use oil revenues to fund the jihadist ideology to the tune of billions of dollars each year. Money that goes towards killing Americans.
Every president since Dwight Eisenhower has informed Americans that we must reduce our dependence on foreign oil. But that statement has become nothing more than political rhetoric as imported oil has climbed steadily since. An abundant flow of inexpensive oil is essential for a prosperous American economy. Once the flow of oil is interrupted, we are in a world of hurt as we saw in the oil embargo by Arab nations in 1973.
Tom Mullikin – environmental lawyer, global expedition leader, and soon-to-be commander of South Carolina’s State Guard – recently briefed the Columbia (S.C.) Chamber of Commerce on how climate change and American energy affects our military and national security. From Midlandsbiz:
“If you look at a graph of global energy reserves from around 1960 compared to now, you will see that state-owned companies control around 80 percent of these reserves compared to 15 percent decades ago,” said Mullikin. “Needless to say, many of these state-owned companies are controlled by governments of hostile nations. We are buying energy from our opponents, and they don’t want to see us energy independent.”
It shouldn’t take an expert to tell us it is a bad idea to depend on nations hostile to U.S. interests for strategic resources. Especially when we sit on massive reserves of oil and natural gas. Enough to turn the United States into the Saudi Arabia of the future… if we can get Washington out of the way.
Mullikin urged veterans to speak out in support of shale energy and technologies such as “hydraulic fracturing, also known as ‘fracking,’ which has made production of these resources possible.” He emphasized that the emergence of American shale resources “provide the U.S. the opportunity to stop putting bullets in the guns of our adversaries. The people opposing the development of these energy resources are those whose funding has been traced back to – and this probably won’t surprise you – the Middle East (specifically the United Arab Emirates) and Putin’s Russia.”
In: National Security · Tagged with: climate change, energy
“A nation reveals itself not only by the the men it produces, but also by the men it honors, the men it remembers…”
– President John F. Kennedy
Last week, America lost two outstanding warriors. Ola L. Mize, veteran of the Korean and Vietnam Wars and Medal of Honor recipient, and William J. Guarnere, from the legendary “Band of Brothers” unit of World War II.
Alabama native Ola Mize tried repeatedly to enlist in the Army, but at 120 pounds was told he was too small. He also had to trick his way past a vision test as he was also blind in one eye from a childhood accident. Eventually, the Army relented and he served in the 82nd Airborne, re-enlisting once the Korean War broke out.
On June 10, 1953, a battalion-sized force of Chinese troops attacked and overran Mize’s outpost. With his company officers dead or wounded, Mize organized a defense, dragged wounded to safety, and formed a patrol to fight the Chinese bunker to bunker – despite having been hit by grenade and artillery blasts multiple times. Fighting for hours – hand-to-hand at times – Mize killed several dozen enemy soldiers with his carbine and many more by calling in American artillery fire. His full citation can be read here.
Mize was one of only eight Americans of the original 56 to survive the attack on the outpost. Initially, he refused the Medal of Honor, but eventually accepted it on behalf of his men.
Following the Korean War, Mize earned his commission and served multiple tours in Vietnam with the 5th Special Forces Group. He later founded the Combat Diver Qualification Course in Key West, Fla. and commanded the Special Forces School at Fort Bragg.
Col. Mize retired in 1981, having earned the Silver Star, Legion of Merit, five Bronze Stars, and the Purple Heart. He passed away in his Gadsden, Ala. home on March 12 of lung cancer.
When the Japanese struck Pearl Harbor, William Guarnere dropped out of high school and went to work building Sherman tanks. His job was considered essential to the war effort, which allowed him to stay stateside. But he enlisted in the Army, and trained for the newly formed parachute infantry. He would be assigned to Easy Company, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, which would be immortalized by historian Stephen Ambrose in the book “Band of Brothers.”
Guarnere’s oldest brother Harry was killed fighting the Germans at Monte Cassino, Italy, and William couldn’t wait to kill every German he could. His fierce fighting earned him the nickname “Wild Bill.” Guarnere parachuted into France prior to the D-Day invasion, and was platoon sergeant during a June 6 assault on German artillery at Brecourt Manor featured on “Band of Brothers” miniseries, for which he earned the Silver Star.
In: Military History · Tagged with: Medal of Honor, Ola L. Mize
Walter D. Ehlers, the last surviving Medal of Honor recipient for the Normandy campaign, was laid to rest March 10 at Riverside (Calif.) National Cemetery.
Ehlers was born in Junction City, Ks. on May 7, 1921. He enlisted in the Army with his brother Roland and the two served together throughout the North Africa and Sicily campaigns, but anticipating high casualties, their company commander separated the brothers for the Normandy invasion due to fears that the two would perish together. Walter learned on June 14 that his brother perished when a mortar struck his landing craft at Omaha Beach on D-Day.
As Walter’s reconnaissance squad fought through France on June 9 and 10, he repeatedly moved far forward of his men, leading a bayonet charge and assaulting multiple heavily defended strongpoints – at times, single-handedly. While covering the withdrawal of his platoon from heavy fire, and despite being wounded himself, Ehlers crossed a killzone to retrieve his wounded automatic rifleman. Once his man was secured, he returned for the soldier’s weapon. His full citation can be read here.
He was wounded three more times as the First Infantry Division fought across Europe. In addition to his Medal of Honor and Purple Hearts, he also earned the Silver Star and Bronze Star. He served as a counselor for the Veterans Administration, and his son Walter Jr. retired as a lieutenant colonel, also having served with the First Infantry Division. Ehlers spoke at the 50th anniversary commemoration of the D-Day invasion in 1994 and walked alongside President Bill Clinton on Omaha Beach.
Many who worked alongside Ehlers never knew he was a Medal of Honor recipient. “This was a man who was a warrior,” recalled former California governor Pete Wilson. “There’s no doubt about that, but this was also one of the most gentle, kindest, most modest human beings I’ve ever encountered.” Hundreds attended his funeral.
Of the 12 Medals of Honor awarded for Normandy, all but three were posthumous. With Ehlers’ passing, only 75 surviving Medal of Honor recipients remain. However, the Marine Corps Times reports that former Marine Corporal Kyle Carpenter will receive the award for shielding his comrades from a grenade blast in Afghanistan back in 2010.
In: Military History · Tagged with: Medal of Honor, Walter D. Ehlers
In: Images · Tagged with: F-35 Lighting II
In 2012, Taureg rebels known as the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (NMLA) fought a rebellion against the Mali government. NMLA forces drove the military from Northern Mali and unilaterally declared independence. The jihadist groups Ansar al-Din, the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa, and Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb took advantage of the weakened political state in Northern Mali and quickly drove out MLNA forces, gaining control of Northern Mali.
Determined to deny an Islamist state at Europe’s doorstep, France launched Opération Serval in January, 2013, an operation to clear the jihadists from Mali. The French military, supported by forces from several nations, quickly repelled the jihadists. The video is a France2 documentary (English subtitles) featuring combat footage entirely shot by military cameras.
In: Military · Tagged with: France, Mali, War on Terror
“There are two ways to conquer and enslave a country. One is by the sword. The other is by debt.”
– John Adams
In: Quotes · Tagged with: John Adams
More on the Blue Angels at the Center for American Military History.
In: Images, Military · Tagged with: Blue Angels, F/A-18 Hornet
1862: The Battle of Mechanicsville (Va.) — second of the Seven Days Battles — is fought between Union forces under the command of Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan and Brig. Gen. Fitz John Porter, and Confederates under Gen. Robert E. Lee. Though the Confederates suffer heavy losses in a series of futile attacks against Federal positions, Porter is forced to withdraw in the face of fresh Confederate forces under Maj. Gen. Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson.
1948: A day after the Soviet Union blockades West Berlin, 32 U.S. C-47 cargo planes loaded with supplies takeoff on the first flight of the Berlin Airlift. Over 2 million tons of supplies are delivered during the 15-month operation.
Across the Atlantic, Strategic Air Command receives its first B-36A “Peacekeeper.” The six-engine strategic bomber is the world’s largest warplane and, with a range over 6,000 miles, is the first unrefueled intercontinental bomber.
1963: President John F. Kennedy proclaims, “Ich bin ein Berliner,” as a Cold War expression of America’s support for West Berlin following East Germany’s erecting the Berlin Wall.
1917: The first convoy of troop transport ships carrying the American Expeditionary Force arrives in France. More than two million Americans will serve on the battlefields of Western Europe, and over 50,000 will lose their lives during World War I.
1876: A 3,000-strong Native American allied force led by Lakota chief Sitting Bull wipes out five companies of cavalry led by Lt. Col. George A. Custer near the Little Bighorn River in modern-day Montana.
1918: After what Gen. John J. Pershing called “the most considerable engagement American troops had ever had with a foreign enemy,” Marines finally secure Belleau Wood.
1950: North Korean infantry, tanks, and aircraft cross the 38th Parallel into South Korea, launching the Korean War.
1996: Islamists detonate a massive truck bomb outside the Khobar Towers near Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, killing 19 American airmen and wounding hundreds more.