Monday, June 25, 2012

MDDF Mobilizes to Support Baltimore’s 2012 Star-Spangled Sailabration

By CPT (MDDF) Stephen Rice
Maryland Defense Force Public Affairs
June 25, 2012

From June 13 to June 19 the Maryland Defense Force (MDDF) supported the commemoration of the bicentennial of The Star-Spangled Banner and the War of 1812 in Baltimore, Maryland. This important national event helped to kick-off a three year series of activities that are designed to commemorate the writing of our National Anthem and our nation’s struggle for independence. Although a number of government agencies and volunteer organizations played critical roles in the event’s success, Sailabration was principally spearheaded by the U.S. Navy and the City of Baltimore.

The Sailabration festivities brought an estimated 500,000 visitors to Baltimore City to participate in the celebration. In addition, several thousand sailors and Marines visited Baltimore traveling from home ports around the world. Many of the sailors and Marines arrived on the more than 40 ships that paraded up the Chesapeake Bay and docked in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor for the special commemoration. Planning for the MDDF participation in the Sailabration event was conducted by Col. (MDDF) David Thaler.

During the opening ceremony, MDDF military escorts and ushers under the leadership of Col. David Thaler (MDDF) and Command Sgt. Maj. (MDDF) Ronald Scott helped to ensure that the dignitaries and the press were properly seated. Dignitaries in attendance included Maryland Lt. Governor Anthony Brown, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Rear Adm. Gregory M. Nosal and Brig. Gen. (MDDF) Brian R. Kelm. Music was provided by the U.S. Navy Band.

MDDF trusted agents under the leadership of Col. (MDDF) Walter Coryell worked to ensure that civilian visitors were safely transported to Locust Point where many of the “grey hull ships” were docked. At least one MDDF trusted agent was posted on each visitor shuttle bus between the Baltimore Ravens M&T Bank Stadium and the Locust Point harbor site. Over the six day celebration the trusted agents helped to ensure the safety of over 8,000 visitors.

The MDDF 10th Medical Regiment under the leadership of Col. (MDDF) Walter Hettinger erected and operated two medical tents during Sailabration. A Mobile Medical tent was located at the Baltimore Inner Harbor and another was located at Ft. McHenry. The 10th Medical Regiment was augmented by the MDDF Linguistics Unit which was under the leadership of Col. (MDDF) Stanley Shapiro and Lt. Col. (MDDF) Sierra Braiterman. The Linguistics Unit provided skilled interpreters for international visitors that were not native English speakers. Over the course of the six day event the 10th Medical Regiment successfully treated 103 patients for an assortment of medical issues.

In order to support MDDF field units and the Baltimore City and U.S. Navy operations centers, a MDDF operations center was established in the Fells Point neighborhood of Baltimore. The MDDF operations center was located at the Polish National Alliance headquarters and executed its mission under Col. (MDDF) Raymond Bocelli. Supporting the Sailabration communications network was the MDDF Communications Unit under the direction of Col. (MDDF) Henry Clark. In addition, a recruiting booth for the MDDF was coordinated by Capt. (MDDF) Bryan Fischer.

In supporting the Sailabration mission, MDDF personnel contributed over 4,400 man hours to the success of this event. Nearly 200 MDDF personnel participated in Sailabration which helped to save the U.S. Navy, the State of Maryland and the City of Baltimore well over $250,000. At the conclusion of Sailabration MDDF Commander Brig. Gen. (MDDF) Brian R. Kelm commented that he “could not be more proud of my MDDF soldiers as they have completely exceeded my expectations.”

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 450 personnel who perform legal, engineering, finance, medical, chaplain, field support and ceremonial services for the State of Maryland. For more information: