Thank you all very, very much. Lt. Governor Brown, thank you for your leadership, for your partnership, and for your service to our nation.
To General and Mrs. Tuxill, General & Mrs. Adkins, to General Blum, and those of the Military Department who are with us today, thank you all very, very much for your service to our country, especially in these challenging times.
We are here this afternoon to participate in the time-honored tradition of the changing of command – a ceremony that marks the passage of responsibility and trust from one leader to another.
Since Revolutionary times, the Maryland National Guard has answered the call to defend our State, to defend our nation, to defend the freedoms that we cherish.
And since 1794 – just 18 years after we declared our independence as a nation – the State militia, now our National Guard, has looked to the Adjutant General for guidance, for strength, and for leadership.
These two great leaders have a combined eight decades of service, and their knowledge and their understanding of the National Guard and of the defense of our nation is a tremendous asset – not only for our State, but for our nation as a whole.
Major General Bruce Tuxill has served the Maryland National Guard with distinction since 1968. A fighter pilot, he cut his teeth on the F-86 Sabre jets, and rose quickly through the ranks.
During his service as Adjutant General, Major General Tuxill fostered an ethic of readiness, to meet the challenges of our State and our nation as we moved into the uncertainty of the 21st century and the challenges presented to our own homeland security by the nature of asymmetrical warfare.
Major General Tuxill, we are truly grateful for your service, and we wish you and Keren the very best of luck in your years ahead together.
Today, the flag was passed to Brigadier General Jim Adkins.
Brig. Gen. Adkins served in the Maryland National Guard for 22 years and met every challenge with courage and resolve that will serve him well in this new position of leadership.
Last year, we were fortunate enough to have recruited General Adkins to be our Secretary of Veterans Affairs. His leadership on Maryland Veteran Affairs has already made a tremendous impact on America’s returning servicemen and women.
Thanks to his partnership, thanks to his leadership, we’ve made some tremendous strides for our veterans, including those who are returning from combat. These heroes were here for us, and as Marylander’s we are committed to being there for them.
Together, we Marylanders passed Maryland Veteran’s Behavioral Health Bill.
Together, as One Maryland we created the National Guard Reintegration Program.
Together, as One Maryland we provided additional State funding for claims assistance.
Together, as Marylanders we are providing additional scholarship money for our returning Iraq and Afghanistan veterans.
Together, as One Maryland, we’re re-investing in Veteran-owned and disabled Veteran-owned small business procurement.
Together, as One Maryland, we’re providing tax relief for returning veterans.
Together, as One Maryland we also created the Gold Star Family license plate to honor the sacrifice of those fellow citizens who have been killed in battle.
To the men and women in the Maryland Military Department, we are eternally grateful for your hard work and for your sacrifice. We are grateful to you for carrying on the proud legacy of this Old Line State, and the sacrifice, the service, commitment and courage of the Maryland 400.
Our nation is built upon heart and passion from people like yourselves. It is built on the love, the sweat, and the labor and commitment of brave men and women who, since the days of the Maryland 400, squared their shoulders against the forces of fear, of tyranny, so that we could continue to secure the blessings of liberty for this nation – not just for ourselves, but for our posterity.
In the words of a great American, “responsibility is the greatest right of citizenship, and service is the greatest of freedom’s privileges.”
At the end of one command and the beginning of another, we are seeing two citizen soldiers who took up freedom’s greatest privilege, their own responsibility to the people of this nation, to serve for the strength of our State and our people, and our posterity, and I thank you gentleman very, very much.