Remarks by Governor Hogan at the 29th Infantry Division Departure Ceremony
Thank you. Good morning distinguished guests, family and friends, and, most importantly, the proud citizen soldiers of the 29th Infantry Division.
Since World War I, members of the 29th have been at the forefront of defending our nation.
It is an incredible honor for me to be here this morning as these 436 brave men and women begin writing the next chapter in that proud history.
Today’s deployment ceremony hits particularly close to home for me; not only are we proud of all the nearly 200 brave soldiers who are members of our Maryland Army National Guard, but one particular young man, Staff Sergeant Jeffrey Tyler Middleton, is also a Maryland State Trooper First Class who serves on my own executive protection detail.
A few weeks ago, before Tyler left for training, we threw him a farewell party at the Governor’s Mansion in Annapolis. I had the chance to talk with his fellow troopers, his parents, his grandparents, and his little brother.
I told Tyler how incredibly proud we are of him and that we will be praying for him and for all his fellow soldiers that they all return home safely.
And I assured him that we will be holding his spot on my executive protection detail until he returns home.
As governor of Maryland, countless times I have been so impressed to see first-hand the leadership, self-sacrifice, and bravery of our National Guard, soldiers, and airmen.
Our state has depended on you many times, and you have always answered the call.
Last April, just 90 days after I was sworn into office, Baltimore City was in flames facing its worst violence in 48 years.
Four hundred businesses were burned, looted, and destroyed, and 170 police officers and firefighters were injured in just the first few hours.
Our team acted swiftly and decisively.
I declared a state of emergency, and thanks in large part to the incredible efforts of the National Guard under the exceptional leadership of Major General Linda Singh, we were able to quickly restore calm, peace, and law-and-order to the city.
In January of this year, we called on the National Guard again when our state was hit with an historic winter storm. More than 700 soldiers and other personnel were deployed all across the state.
And then again this summer, the Guard’s 29th Combat Aviation Brigade aided our state in response to devastating flooding that ravaged our historic Maryland town of Ellicott City.
We called in the Guard’s CH-47 Chinook Helicopter to sling-load an 8,000-pound pump and other necessary equipment to conduct emergency repair operations, which literally prevented an environmental disaster.
In times of war and peace, both at home and around the world, the members of our National Guard stand bravely on the front lines.
You are always ready, you always step up when you are called upon, and today, we want to sincerely thank each and every one of you for bravely and selflessly doing so once again.
But I also want to take a moment to recognize all the family members here today.
As a father of three daughters, with a granddaughter and a new grandson on the way, I feel an immeasurable sense of gratitude to the men and women who willingly put their lives on the line to protect our freedoms and to preserve our way of life for the next generation.
My daughter was a member of the Maryland National Guard, and both my daughter and my son-in-law served multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, so I understand first-hand the sacrifice of the family members who are left behind to worry and to pray for the safe return of their loved ones.
So this morning, we want to also express our gratitude to the families. Because without your love and support, our National Guard soldiers and airmen would not be able to perform the difficult missions that we ask of them.
May God bless each and every one of you.
May God bless and watch over the 436 brave soldiers of the 29th Infantry Division, and may God continue to bless the United States of America.