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Event at Carmella’s in Charleston kicks-off State Guard exercise


CHARLESTON, S.C. – The all-volunteer S.C. State Guard hosted an “An Evening at Carmella’s” on historic East Bay Street in downtown Charleston, last Fri. evening. The event, a fundraiser for the S.C. State Guard’s 3rd Brigade and part of the brigade’s weekend-long capabilities exercise (CAPEX), was “a huge success,” according to officials.

Col. Charles Muse, a retired U.S. Marine Corps officer who today commands the State Guard’s 3rd Brigade, made introductory remarks, which were followed by keynote speakers retired U.S. Marine Maj. Gen. James E. Livingston, recipient of the MEDAL OF HONOR, the nation’s highest award for combat valor; and Maj. Gen. Tom Mullikin, a Camden-based attorney and former U.S. Army officer who today commands the S.C. State Guard.

All spoke to the relevancy and necessity of a well-trained state defense force organization like the S.C. State Guard – proven during recent natural disasters – in the era of high-tempo overseas deployments for Army and Air National Guard units.

The S.C. State Guard is one of the oldest military organizations in the country; its earliest predecessor organization, the First Provincial Militia, having been founded in 1670 a few miles from downtown Charleston just across the Ashley River at Albemarle Point. Today headquartered in Columbia, and with operational units strategically positioned throughout the state; the S.C. State Guard is organized as a component organization under the S.C. Military Dept., which also oversees the S.C. Army National Guard, the S.C. Air National Guard, the S.C. Emergency Management Div. and other elements.

Unlike the S.C. National Guard, however, the S.C. State Guard is an unpaid force of professional volunteers – including physicians and other medical professionals, attorneys, engineers, chaplains, university professors, communications experts, certified law-enforcement officers, retired and former U.S. military officers, NCOs, and nationally recognized search-and-rescue (SAR) professionals among others – all of whom provide zero-cost disaster-response and other services to the state. Like other state defense forces, nationwide, the S.C. State Guard is established under the authority of Title 32, Section 109, of the United States Code.

“The S.C. State Guard provided critical resources during the recent hurricanes and hurricane-related flooding events of 2015 and 2016,” says Mullikin. “The professionals within the force were among the first to respond, and they saved South Carolina lives and taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars through their efforts.”

According to Mullikin, the S.C. State Guard, provided more than 33,000 hours of service over one calendar year during the disastrous storms which also drove additional resources into the state as FEMA reimbursement for services rendered.

Friday’s event was attended by Charleston-area business and political leaders, as well as others from Columbia and elsewhere around the state. The fundraiser served one of three functions of the 3rd Brigade CAPEX, which also included recruiting and training.

Sat. through Sun, the CAPEX – held in-and-around the Mount Pleasant National Guard Armory – included classroom instruction for State Guardsmen, swift-water rescue training for the brigade’s SAR team as well as a public demonstration of SAR capabilties, SCUBA training for the brigade’s dive team and a dive-team demonstration.

The S.C. State Guard’s 3rd Brigade is based in the Lowcountry. The 1st Brigade is based in the Midlands as are the various headquarters elements and command staff. The 2nd Brigade is based in the Upstate.

[Pictured L-R are COL Muse; Maj. Gen. Livingston, and Maj. Gen. Mullikin.]

– For additional information about the S.C. State Guard, please visit http://www.sg.sc.gov/.

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