Monday, October 28, 2013

MDDF Judge Advocate Corps Completes Fall Muster

By MAJ (MDDF) Matthew Fox
Maryland Defense Force Public Affairs
28 October 2013

On October 19, 2013 the Maryland Defense Force (MDDF) Judge Advocate Corps (JAC) assembled for its Fall Muster. At the onset, a change of command ceremony took place, in which Col. (MDDF) Dennis Cuomo transferred command of the unit to Col. (MDDF) Michael May. In addition, Lt. Col. (MDDF) Laurie Kwiedorowicz was appointed as the unit’s executive officer. Col. (MDDF) Cuomo commented, “It was my honor to serve as your commander for the past two years. We are in good hands with Col. (MDDF) May.” Col. (MDDF) Cuomo was also given a plaque by the unit as a token of their thanks for his enthusiastic leadership and tireless efforts.

At the muster, three new JAC officers were sworn in. The new officers included 1st Lt. (MDDF) Jarrod Sharp, Capt. (MDDF) Colleen Clary and Lt. Col. (MDDF) David Weber. Col. (MDDF) Joseph Pokempner was introduced as the new Equal Employment Opportunity Officer for the entire MDDF, and he spoke as to his role and duties.

Guests at the muster included members of the University of Maryland JustAdvice Program which provides low cost legal consultation to Maryland residents. Sharity Bannerman and Eric Lee, student-attorneys with JustAdvice, introduced the program and took part in a discussion of how the JAC and JustAdvice can work together to best serve the citizens of Maryland.

Senior JAC officers also briefed the unit on the status of current assignments, including the Ft. Meade Project, the 70th Regiment Augmentation Group, and Col. (MDDF) Thomas Beach’s appointment as JAC Liaison Officer to MDDF Field Detachment Alpha in Hagerstown, Maryland. Afterward, Col. (MDDF) May provided instruction on the technicalities of the Domestic Violence Offender Gun Ban, often called the “Lautenberg Amendment,” a law which prohibits persons convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence or persons under a protective order from possessing firearms. This is an issue of vital importance to the service members the JAC represent.

Finally, the JAC conducted SHARP (Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention) training, now a mandatory yearly training requirement in the MDDF and all branches of the military. Col. (MDDF) May shared that, “This is serious stuff. There will be zero tolerance for this kind of behavior.” The muster concluded with an awards ceremony, in which several JAC officers received the State of Maryland State Service Ribbon for five years of continuous service to the State. Additionally, the MDDF Honorable Service Ribbon was awarded to Maj. (MDDF) Matthew Fox, Lt. Col. (MDDF) Laurie Kwiedorowicz and Col. (MDDF) J. Michael Lawlor.

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: