Guard changes at National Guard unit

April 21, 1998

The 729th Forward Support Battalion, Maryland Army National Guard stationed on Roxbury Road in Hagerstown held a change of command ceremony on Saturday, April 4.

Assuming command of the 729th was Lt. Col. James Vandegrift, a resident of Carroll County, Md., and a fiscal officer with the Maryland State Police in Pikesville, Md.

Lt. Col. Joseph Neder of Mt. Savage, Md., a supervisor and investigator at the Western Correctional Institution in Cumberland, Md., had commanded the local battalion since 1991.

Lt. Gen. James Fretterd, adjutant general of the Maryland National Guard, praised Neder for the achievements of the 729th during his tenure as battalion commander.


He described Vandegrift, as an officer of tremendous personal integrity, leadership and drive.

U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-Md., warned that "we still live in a dangerous world."

"The guard is always the first military to respond in an emergency situation," Bartlett said.

Vandegrift enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1966. As a military intelligence specialist with the Army Security Agency, he served in Thailand and Turkey. Upon completion of his military service in 1970 he was enrolled at the University of Baltimore where he graduated in 1974 with a bachelor's degree in management.

In 1978 he joined the Maryland National Guard as a member of the 58th Infantry Brigade (Separate). He enrolled in the Maryland Military Academy's Officer Candidate School. He recently served in maintenance staff positions in the 297th Maintenance Battalion and at Maryland State Headquarters in Baltimore.

Vandegrift, and his wife, Dawn, live in near Westminster, Md. They have two sons, William James, a student at Carroll Community College, and John Warren, who attends Westminster High School.

As a junior at Mt. Savage High School, Neder enlisted in the U.S. Navy. Upon graduation in 1965 he went on active duty and served two tours in Vietnam aboard the USS Intrepid.

He enlisted in the Maryland Army National Guard and was commissioned a second lieutenant in May 1976 after graduating from the Maryland Military Academy Officer Candidate School.

In June 1991 he assumed command of the 729th Maintenance Battalion, which was reorganized as the 729th Support Battalion (Forward Support) in September 1994.

Neder is a 1992 graduate of the Command and General Staff College.

The Herald-Mail Articles