Headlines in the Midlands
Senator says a national medal should mirror medal for S.C.’s fallen
By W. Thomas Smith Jr.
October 17, 2012
COLUMBIA, S.C. – The Medal of Valor – a newly established decoration for South Carolinians who have lost their lives while serving in or deploying to a combat zone – was signed into law by Gov. Nikki Haley at Anderson's National Guard armory on August 21, 2012. And less than two months since the signing, one of the lead legislators championing the bill is suggesting the merit of a parallel decoration, nationally.
Sen. Thomas Alexander (Republican – Oconee), chairman of the Senate General Committee, introduced the bill in Feb. 2012. He now says he would like to see a national version of the medal.
"It's not surprising the medal was established in S.C. for South Carolinians by Sen. Alexander and other leaders," says COL Thomas S. Mullikin; an environmental attorney, the deputy commander of the S.C. State Guard and a former U.S. Army JAG officer. "After all, we are a state with one of the richest military heritages – if not the richest military heritage - in the nation."
Alexander – who joined Mullikin last month in recognizing members of the State Guard and cadets from The Citadel who had just completed a grueling State Guard Readiness hike (25K with 75 lbs. of gear each) in the Francis Marion National Forest – agrees the Palmetto State is the natural choice to be the first to honor its fallen in this way.
"This medal – long overdue – will formally and honorably recognize those who have not just been wounded in action, but have lost their lives defending our freedoms," says Alexander. "I salute Gov. Haley and my legislative colleagues for helping me make this happen. And I'd like to see similar recognition for our fallen heroes, nationally."
The Act officially establishes, "the S.C. Medal of Valor to be awarded to a South Carolinian, or an individual with certain ties to S.C., who was killed either while serving in or deploying to a combat zone. The S.C. Medal of Valor is awarded on behalf of the people of the State of South Carolina and is presented to the families of these fallen service members."
W. Thomas Smith Jr. – a former U.S. Marine rifle-squad leader and counterterrorism instructor – is a New York Times bestselling editor and founding partner of NATIONAL DEFENSE CONSULTANTS, LLC. Visit Smith at http://uswriter.com.