Story by LTC Cindi King on 03/22/2019"As members of Team South Carolina, the more engaged we are with community leaders in providing them opportunities to see first-hand what we do and how we train, the stronger we will be as an organization and community partner," said U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Van. McCarty, the adjutant general for South Carolina.
To support this goal, members of Leadership South Carolina spent a day touring and speaking to employees in the South Carolina Military Department, March 20, 2019 at McCrady Training Center in Eastover, South Carolina. The purpose of their visit was to learn the capabilities of the South Carolina National Guard, as well as the Employee Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) and South Carolina Youth Challenge Academy (SCYCA).
"Many of the Leadership South Carolina participants are CEOs, business owners, or have other civic leader positions in our state," said U.S. Army Maj. Ryan Purdie, McCrady Training Center range operations officer. "These particular elements were selected to showcase because these areas may impact their businesses or agencies."
The members were welcomed by U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Brad Owens, South Carolina National Guard Director of Joint Staff, who talked to them about the foundation of the organization, the recent natural disaster responses by the National Guard with floods and hurricanes, and the importance of values as leaders.
"Brigadier General Owens history lesson was a great addition to his brief," said Reece Bertholf, City of Beaufort fire chief. "He spoke of the lineage of the South Carolina National Guard and of many native South Carolinian's who have done great things fighting for our country."
The attendees were then challenged on the Field Leadership Reaction Course, followed by an overview of the ESGR and SCYCA. The final part of the tour included South Carolina National Guard equipment displays and an opportunity to try some of the training simulators for convoy operations and ranges.
"I didn't realize what the South Carolina National Guard had to offer," said Hollie Harrell, Anderson Districts #1 and #2 Career and Technology Center director. "I was very impressed with the civilian and military coordination to better support the state in emergencies."
According to Purdie, the attendees enjoyed the hands-on portion of the visit the best, where they were able to walk around the military vehicles and sit in the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter.
"It seemed beneficial for the Leadership South Carolina members to have the experiences of climbing onto the trucks and using the simulators," said Purdie. "For those with employees in the National Guard, it will especially help them better understand what takes place during weekend drill or annual training and why it's important."