Fifth Regiment Armory, 219 29th Division St., Baltimore, MD 21201 - 2288
[photo, Fifth Regiment Armory, 29th Division St., Baltimore, Maryland] Authorization for military force in Maryland began when the Maryland Charter of 1632 empowered Lord Baltimore to raise troops to put down insurrection or rebellion and subdue enemies of the province. It continued in the eighteenth century as Maryland militia units fought during the French and Indian War, and distinguished themselves in the American Revolution at the Battle of Long Island (1776), the Battle of Camden (1780), the Battle of Cowpens (1781), the Battle of Guilford Courthouse (1781), and the Battle of Eutaw Springs (1781).

Fifth Regiment Armory, 29th Division St., Baltimore, Maryland, January 2000. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.

Under State government, the office of Adjutant General was authorized first by the General Assembly in 1793 (Chapter 53, Acts of 1793). It was made a Constitutional office in 1951 (Const. 1851, Art. lX, sec. 2).

The Adjutant General heads the Military Department and exercises powers and duties under the Militia Law of Maryland (Code Public Safety Article, secs. 13-101 through 13-905). The organization of the Military Department also conforms to Title 32 of the U.S. Code and regulations issued pursuant thereto.

The Military Department is responsible for the Maryland Air National Guard, the Maryland Army National Guard, and the Maryland Defense Force.

[photo, First Regiment Armory (now Readiness Center), 125 Dorsey Road, Glen Burnie, Maryland] The Military Department builds and maintains the armories and other facilities used by the Maryland Army National Guard and Air National Guard (Code Public Safety Article, sec. 13-302). Units of the Guard have their own command structure. Operating expenses and equipment of the Maryland Army National Guard and Maryland Air National Guard are a federal responsibility provided for under the U.S. Department of Defense. Active members of the Guard units receive pay and allowances when they are in a drill status or are ordered to active duty for training. These expenses are the responsibility of the U.S. Department of Defense.

First Regiment Armory (now Readiness Center), 125 Dorsey Road, Glen Burnie, Maryland, October 2018. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.

[photo, Military Honor Guard, Military Bowl Parade, Rowe Blvd., Annapolis, Maryland] The Governor may call up the Maryland National Guard for state service in emergencies. During a call-up, salaries and expenses of these units are the responsibility of the State. When members of the organized military (National Guard) are ordered by the Governor to active duty for training or emergencies, they receive pay and allowances as prescribed (Code Public Safety Article, secs. 13-704, 13-705). No specific provision is provided in the State budget for these expenses. For State call-ups, the Board of Public Works makes mission-specific emergency allocation of funds.

All State forms and records required for militia use and the reports and returns required by the federal government are prepared by the Military Department. Service records of all officers and enlisted persons who have served or are serving in the Maryland National Guard are maintained by the Department as well.

The Military Department also operates programs for youth. To reduce violent behavior and substance abuse, the About Face! Program conducts after-school activities, weekend retreats, and summer camps for at-risk youth between the ages of 12 and 16. The Free State Challenge Program is a 22-week residential program for high school dropouts between the ages of 16 and 18. Participants live on the main post of Aberdeen Proving Ground in Harford County while they prepare for the General Education Degree (G.E.D.) test and learn job skills.

Military Honor Guard, Military Bowl Parade, Rowe Blvd., Annapolis, Maryland, December 2018. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.


Appointed by the Governor with Senate advice and consent, the Adjutant General heads the Military Department, is responsible for the Department's budget, and is custodian of all State and federal property used by the organized militia. The Adjutant General maintains all State-owned armories located in Maryland and all other properties that may be occupied, purchased, or leased by the Military Department. The Adjutant General also regulates the use of such facilities; applications for their use should be made to the Adjutant General. In addition, the Adjutant General is responsible for the administration, training, and supply of approximately 9,460 National Guard troops, including 1,487 full-time employees (310 State paid; 1,177 federally paid).

The Adjutant General serves on the Governor's Executive Council. Aiding the Adjutant General, the Assistant Adjutant General for Army and the Assistant Adjutant General for Air both are appointed by the Governor (Const., Art. IX, sec. 2). From among the commissioned officers of the National Guard, the Adjutant General and two Assistant Adjutants General are selected by the Governor. Salaries of these personnel are a State reponsibility and included in the Military Department administrative budget (Code Public Safety Article, secs. 13-301 through 13-306). They are essentially on the Governor's staff, though not on active duty in the usual military sense.

The Military Department provides aircraft, ground transportation, and engineering services to communities. It also allows equipment and armories to be used for community events. Federal and State law enforcement agencies are aided by the Department in drug-related seizures and arrests.

Thte Adjutant General appoints the Director of Military Support to Civil Authorities (Code Public Safety Article, sec. 13-302 (iv)).


State Operations oversees Finance and Administration; the Free State Challenge; State Equal Opportunity; and the Veterans Affairs Honor Guard.

Upon request, the Military Department organizes uniformed honor guards to attend burial services of deceased veterans (Chapter 421, Acts of 1998). Military funeral honors are available at all cemeteries in the State and are free of charge for Maryland veterans. Between October 1998 and September 2005, the Department performed over 17,000 such details.


The Maryland Air National Guard started on June 29, 1921 when the 104th Observation Squadron was recognized federally in Baltimore. After World War I, the Squadron was the first National Guard unit to be equiped with its own aircraft. With the rest of the Maryland National Guard, the Squadron was mobilized for federal service on February 3, 1941. From 1941 to 1942, it flew anti-submarine patrols out of Atlantic City, New Jersey, before personnel were transferred to other units. In late 1942, the Squadron was inactivated and its personnel transferred to the 517th Bombardment Squadron (later designated the 12th Anti-Submarine Squadron) at Langley Field, Virginia.

Today, the Maryland Air National Guard is a separate reserve component of the U.S. Air Force. The Guard is composed of the State Command and the 175th Wing Command (including the 104th Fighter Squadron, the 135th Airlift Group, and the 235th Civil Engineer Flight). It provides air combat forces and airlift aircraft, as well as emergency support, to the U.S. Air Force and other unified commands.

The Governor appoints two Assistant Adjutant Generals for the Maryland Air National Guard (Code Public Safety Article, sec. 13-303).


[photo, Maryland Army National Guard, City Hall, 100 North Holliday St., Baltimore, Maryland] Origins of the Maryland Army National Guard trace to 1634 when two militia captains disembarked with early settlers at St. Clement's Island in St. Mary's County. At that time, all able-bodied men were obliged to serve in the militia, and volunteers were organized to protect the settlement. The militia expanded as the colony grew.

Volunteer units, known as "Maryland Forces", fought with the British to secure the frontier during the French and Indian War from 1756 to 1763. By the end of the conflict, participation in the militia lapsed but was revitalized in 1774 as relations between the colonies and England became more strained.

Maryland Army National Guard, City Hall, 100 North Holliday St., Baltimore, Maryland, May 2015. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.

Several Maryland militia units fought with Washington's Continental Army and later became known as the Maryland Line. After the Revolution, Maryland maintained a militia force which saw action in the War of 1812, distinguishing itself at the Battle of North Point (1814).

From 1846 to 1847, many members of the militia enlisted in the U.S. Army to form the Battalion of Maryland and District of Columbia Volunteers (6 companies) in the Mexican-American War. From 1847 to 1848, the Battalion reorganized for the duration of the War as the Regiment of Maryland and District of Columbia Volunteers (8 companies). Later, Maryland militiamen were among those troops who stopped John Brown at Harper's Ferry in 1859.

The Maryland Army National Guard provides combat troops to the U.S. Army, and engineer, transportation and medical units, and military police for State service.

Under the Guard are the 29th Infantry Division (Light) - Support, which oversees the Combat Aviation Brigade; and the 58th Troop Command, which is responsible for the 70th Regional Training Institute; the Joint Force Headquarters (JFHQ); and the 58th Expeditionary Military Intelligence Brigade. Moreover, the armories, readiness centers, and military reservations are overseen by the Maryland Army National Guard.

The Governor appoints two Assistant Adjutant Generals for the Maryland Army National Guard (Code Public Safety Article, sec. 13-303).


Pikesville Military Reservation
610 Reisterstown Road, Pikesville, MD 21208 - 5197

The Maryland Defense Force was established by the General Assembly in 1917 as the Maryland State Guard (Chapter 26, Acts of 1917). Ater World War I, to make way in the armories for the return of the Maryland National Guard, the State Guard was disbanded in 1920. It reformed as the Maryland State Guard in 1941 (Chapter 33, Acts of 1941). As the Maryland Defense Force, it reorganized in 1990 (Chapter 239, Acts of 1990).

As commander-in-chief of the militia, the Governor has the power to organize and maintain additional military forces, known as the Maryland Defense Force. The Force is separate and distinct from the Maryland National Guard. The Force is composed of officers, commissioned or assigned, and all able-bodied citizens of the State who volunteer and are accepted for service. They may be ordered to active duty in the State by the Governor whenever the National Guard has been called into the military service of the United States. Members of the Force are uniformed as prescribed by the Governor, who also may reduce or disband such forces (Code Public Safety Article, secs. 13-101, 13-501 through 13-508).

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