By MAJ (MDDF) Stephen Rice
Maryland Defense Force Public Affairs
1 March 2015
On February 28, 2015 at the Fifth Regiment Armory in Baltimore, Maryland, Maj. Gen. (MD) Linda L. Singh was sworn in as Maryland’s new adjutant general replacing Maj. Gen. James A. Adkins. Maj. Gen. (MD) Singh also made history becoming the nation’s first female African-American adjutant general. Previously Gen. Singh had served as Maryland’s assistant adjutant general – Army.
In this new role, Gen. Singh will lead the Maryland Military Department which includes the Maryland Army National Guard (MDARNG), Maryland Air National Guard (MDANG), Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) and the Maryland Defense Force (MDDF). Several dignitaries were in attendance for the ceremony including Maryland Governor Larry Hogan and senior leaders from the National Guard Bureau. In support of the ceremony, nearly 250 troops stood in formation. Companies from the MDARNG, MDANG, MDDF and Civil Air Patrol were represented.
Leading the MDDF volunteers in formation was Col. (MDDF) James Coleman, deputy commanding general of the MDDF. He commented that, “We had fifty state soldiers on the drill floor for the ceremony and they looked great.” “It was a wonderful experience and we were honored to be a part of this historical occasion.” He also shared that, “The MDDF is excited for the future and we look forward to working with Maj. Gen. (MD) Singh in service to the citizens of Maryland.”
The MDDF was also ably represented at the ceremony by the MDDF Band which is officially known as “Maryland’s Musical Ambassadors.” Under the direction of Lt. Col. (MDDF) Jari Villanueva the MDDF Band performed a marching “sound off” musical salute to Gen. Singh. As part of the tribute, Lt. Col. (MDDF) Villanueva led the band in a pass in review in front of the adjutant general. Following the ceremony and during the adjutant general’s reception, Lt. Col. (MDDF) Villanueva directed elements of the MDDF Band in a jazz performance that entertained appreciative guests. “It was a busy day for us but we thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to do our part in support of Maj. Gen. (MD) Singh.” Brig. Gen. (MDDF) Brian R. Kelm, commanding general of the MDDF commented, “I couldn’t be more proud of how we executed our mission today.”
Members of the band include retired and former members of our nation’s military service bands, music educators and students from all over the state. The band provides musical and ceremonial support to the Maryland Military Department and the State of Maryland. There are 22 states (plus the commonwealth of Puerto Rico) that have State Defense Forces to provide additional uniformed volunteer support to the National Guard. Maryland is only one of four states to have a State Defense Force band.
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: www.mddf.maryland.gov.