On April 22, 2017 the Maryland Defense Force (MDDF) held its Annual Muster at the Fifth Regiment Armory in Baltimore. The Annual Muster is a mandatory all day training activity for all Maryland Defense Force personnel. Company formation and ceremonies commenced at 9 a.m. The keynote speaker for this year’s muster was retired Lt. Gen. H. Steven Blum, the former deputy commander, U.S. Northern Command.
Lt. Gen. Blum in his remarks illuminated the historical spirit of the MDDF and shared, “the MDDF is today’s version of the men and women going back to the colonies who volunteered to serve their state in a time of need.” He continued, “in 1814 when citizen soldiers left farms, churches and shops to repel the British invasion of Baltimore, it was people like you who beat the same British soldiers who had defeated Napoleon. It is because of people like you that we are not British citizens and subjugated to a foreign king.”
The general also highlighted the current relevance of the MDDF and stated that, “the MDDF completes the Maryland National Guard. You provide them with capabilities that they do not have which makes you very valuable. This system works well because the state does not have unlimited resources.” In conclusion he shared that, “our citizen-soldier system is the envy of the world. It’s the glue that keeps our nation together. I offer my many thanks for what you do, what you’ve done and what you will do for my grandchildren and their grandchildren in the future.”
Brig. Gen. Timothy E. Gowen, the assistant adjutant general – army also spoke and brought greetings on behalf of Maj. Gen. Linda Singh, the adjutant general of Maryland. He remarked, “The Maryland Military Department appreciates your service and your willingness to change and evolve as an organization in order to continue to support our needs. Let’s continue on this path to better work together and support the State of Maryland."
In his speech, Brig. Gen. (MDDF) Lorenza Cooper, commanding general of the MDDF, referenced the past but focused on the future. “Although the MDDF has a distinguished history, we are and will continue to go through necessary change. Change brings about chaos, which leads to disruption. However, out of disruption there is opportunity.” He continued, “There is an opportunity for the MDDF to move forward to better align with the Maryland Military Department. There is also an opportunity for MDDF volunteers to seek new positions of responsibility and challenge themselves. Let us all embrace this opportunity and rise up to the challenge.”
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.