On March 23, 2017 the Maryland Defense Force’s (MDDF) Officer and non-commissioned officer (NCO) of the year were honored at the State House in Annapolis. Maj. (MDDF) Fred Sanford, the MDDF officer of the year and Sgt. (MDDF) Dustin Dixon, the MDDF NCO of the year were initially recognized at a reception hosted by Lawrence J. Hogan, governor of Maryland. Also in attendance at the reception were Maj. Gen. Linda Singh, the adjutant general of Maryland and Command Sgt. Maj. Thomas B. Beyard, the senior enlisted leader of the Maryland National Guard. At the reception, Governor Hogan congratulated each of the recipients on their distinguished achievement and special recognition.
Afterwards, the award recipients were recognized on the floor of the Maryland General Assembly’s House of Delegates and on the floor of the Maryland Senate along with their counterparts from the Maryland Army National Guard (MDARNG) and the Maryland Air National Guard (MDANG). Each of the honorees received their own “House Resolution” thanking them for their dedicated service and signed by Michael E. Busch, Speaker of the Maryland House of Delegates. Each honoree also received a “Senate Resolution” signed by Thomas V. ‘Mike” Miller, President of the Maryland Senate.
“The award, the ceremony and the reception exceeded my expectations. It was very humbling to be recognized in such a way,” added Maj. (MDDF) Sanford. A career educator, Maj. (MDDF) Sanford currently serves as an adjunct professor of mathematics at Prince George’s Community College while also serving as the Job Placement Coordinator at North Point High School in Waldorf, MD. As the operations officer in the MDDF’s Professional Service Corps unit, he provides pre-deployment and post-deployment financial advisory services for Maryland National Guard unit members. “His commitment and professionalism has been exceptional which is why he is so deserving of this award,” commented Col. (MDDF) John Forberger, commander of the Professional Service Corps.
“This is a wonderful honor. I appreciate the recognition from the governor and the members of the General Assembly,” shared Sgt. (MDDF) Dixon. Currently serving as the staff NCO for the MDDF Plans, Policy and Training unit, he has served in the MDDF since 2012. Previously he served with the MDDF’s Mike Company and with its predecessor, the Provost Marshal Office, both as the personnel NCO. “Sgt. (MDDF) Dixon is the backbone of the unit and habitually goes above and beyond in service to the State of Maryland. This award lets him know that his hard work has not gone unnoticed,” said Lt. Col. (MDDF) Linda Chatterton, the commander of the MDDF Operations unit.
Both Maj. (MDDF) Sanford and Sgt. (Dixon) were formally selected for their honors by the Maryland State Guard Association. Each recipient will now compete for nationwide honors from the State Guard Association of the United States (SGAUS) amongst similar recipients from other state defense forces. “These men represent the best of the MDDF. They are an important part of our great team,” added Brig. Gen. (MDDF) Lorenza Cooper, commanding general of the MDDF.
The Maryland Defense Force (MDDF) is the State’s uniformed volunteer military unit providing professional and technical assistance to the Maryland Military Department. Established in 1917, the MDDF consists of nearly 250 personnel who perform legal, engineering, finance, medical, chaplain, field support and ceremonial services for the State of Maryland. For more information: www.mddf.maryland.gov.