- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 3, 2001

BALTIMORE Nearly 200 Maryland National Guard soldiers have completed training in airport security and will begin manning checkpoints at the state's three commercial airports tomorrow, a Guard spokeswoman said.
Last week, Gov. Parris N. Glendening announced he would call up members of the Maryland Army National Guard's 3rd Brigade of the 29th Infantry Division to supplement airport security.
Mr. Glendening acted in response to a request that President Bush made of all governors for stepped-up security at commercial airports in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on Washington and New York.
The governor dispatched state troopers to the security checkpoints until the Guard members could be trained under guidelines established by the Federal Aviation Administration.
When Mr. Glendening made his announcement, Maj. Gen. James Fretterd, who oversees the National Guard in Maryland, said he expected the airport security training for members to take two to three weeks.
But Guard spokeswoman Lt. Barbara Maher said yesterday that the training had gone faster than expected, and soldiers would be assigned starting at noon tomorrow to security checkpoints at Baltimore-Washington International Airport and regional airports in Hagerstown and Salisbury.
The Guard members assigned to the airports will have full arrest powers and will carry their M-16 rifles, but they will not screen passengers or luggage.
Meanwhile, the Pentagon called hundreds of Maryland military reservists and National Guard troops to active duty Monday under the partial mobilization that Mr. Bush ordered after the attacks.
The call-up included 36 members of the 352nd Military Police Company, an Army Reserve unit based in Rockville, and 12 members of the 5115th Garrison Support Unit, an Army Reserve unit based at Fort Meade.
It also included 117 members of the Army Guard's 200th Military Police Company, based in Salisbury; 70 members of the 115th Military Police Battalion, another Guard unit based in Salisbury; and 117 members of the Guard's 290th Military Police Company, based in Parkville.
U.S. military planners "are really focused heavily on the military police at this point," said Maj. Steven Harmon, public affairs officer for the 99th Regional Support Command in Pittsburgh, which oversees Army reservists in the mid-Atlantic region.
"They are reaching out and grabbing these units to provide additional support for homeland defense," Maj. Harmon said.
Mr. Bush has created a Cabinet-level Department of Homeland Security to safeguard against terrorist attacks in the United States.
The Pentagon has now called to active duty more than 20,000 Guard members and reservists from 43 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.
Also Monday, the Maryland Air National Guard announced that members at its base in Middle River will go to the Middle East on a mission that was scheduled before the terrorist attacks.
Air Guard members with the 175th Wing will be flying A-10 fighter jets to patrol the no-fly zone over southern Iraq. The unit conducted a similar mission in Iraq in February 1999.
There are about 8,000 Guard members in Maryland, including 2,000 in the Air Guard, and about 10,000 Army Reserve members.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide