Governor Martin O’Malley hosted a welcome home ceremony for the Maryland Army National Guard’s 224th Area Support Medical Company which included a crab cake feast on the lawn at Government House in Annapolis. Maryland’s WWII veterans are honored as well in a ceremony commemorating the 65th anniversary of D-Day.
“I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate Memorial Day – remembering not only the sacrifices that the men and women of our armed forces have made in every generation – but also the blessings that we’re able to enjoy because of their dedication, service and commitment,” said Governor O’Malley.
The 224th recently returned from a deployment in Iraq where they provided direct medical support, including retrieval and stabilization of wounded troops, immediate triage care, and pass-on care to medical-surgical teams. They also conducted basic dental, physiological, and psychological care.
The 224th deployed in March 2008 and returned in February 2009. In December, Governor O’Malley held a video teleconference with the soldiers where he wished the troops a happy holidays and made phone calls to all of their families. When asked what they missed most about home, many mentioned Maryland crabs.
“The last time I spoke to the 224th, I promised you crab cakes when you came home. We couldn’t be happier to deliver on that promise for you and your families today,” said Governor O’Malley.
“The support provided by Governor O’Malley and Lt. Governor Brown for the 224th Area Support Medical Company during our deployment in Iraq was greatly appreciated,” said Captain Brad Hudson, commander of the 224th.
“Our nation is built upon the generations of brave men and women who squared their shoulders against the forces of fear and tyranny so that we could continue to enjoy the blessings of this nation and our way of life,” said Governor O’Malley. “Just as these veterans have always been there for us through times of turmoil and tranquility, famine, flood and war, we as a people are committed to being there for them.”
“Sixty-five years ago, our nation asked the impossible of a group of young Americans,” said Brig. Gen. James A. Adkins, the adjutant general of Maryland. “They entered the continent of Europe on D-Day to free the oppressed from tyranny. Their efforts changed the course of world history, and they became known as our nation’s greatest generation.”
There were 288,000 Maryland men and women who served in World War II. Of these, 6,454 did not come home. Their names appear on Maryland’s World War II Memorial near Annapolis and are honored by its visitors.
There are currently more than 280 Soldiers and Airmen deployed in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kosovo. There have been more than 8,449 Soldiers and Airmen from the Maryland National Guard mobilized and deployed since 9-11 for Operations Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom, Jump Start, and KFOR.