Bartlett praises National Guard troops on visit to airport

January 04, 2002

Bartlett praises National Guard troops on visit to airport


U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett flew into Hagerstown Regional Airport Thursday morning to thank National Guard troops assigned there, and to share his views on the nation's efforts against terrorism.

"I'm here to thank the men, and to thank the families, and to thank their employers," Bartlett, R-Md., said.

"We appreciate what you're doing," Bartlett said of the troops.

Bartlett added that some businesses were "making a major contribution to this effort by making you all available."

Bartlett flew by helicopter to the airport with Lt. Gen. James F. Fretterd of the Maryland National Guard. They visited with several Guard members who have been providing security at the airport since early October.

Fretterd said he regularly visits the troops to check on any problems and to thank them for their service.

A group of 20 National Guard troops based in Westminster, Md., is responsible for security at the airport. First Sgt. William Rosier, who leads the troops at the Hagerstown airport, said there are always at least three Guard members stationed at the airport while it's open.


He said Maryland State Police and the Washington County Sheriff's Office stopped helping with security at the airport about a month ago.

Rosier, who also is a firefighter in Howard County, Md., said the Guard members have orders to be in Hagerstown until the end of March, but said there is speculation their stay will be extended by six months. He said the troops commute to Hagerstown.

After speaking with the media and a small group of Guard troops, Bartlett and Fretterd walked around the terminal speaking with some of the Guard members who were on duty. They were at the airport for about an hour.

"I thought it was pretty nice," said Robert Hardman, who stood near a terminal door with an M-16 over his shoulder. "It lets us know we're not forgotten."

During the visit, Bartlett expressed concern over some of the efforts to protect the country from terrorists.

Bartlett said he was concerned the additional security could jeopardize civil liberties.

He said that while security has been increased at airports, other pieces of the nation's infrastructure, such as power stations, are relatively vulnerable to terrorist attacks.

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