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Maryland National Guard unit assists in storm

February 20, 2003|by TAMELA BAKER

tammyb@herald-mail.com

When Maryland Gov. Robert Ehrlich declared a state of emergency as a result of this week's snowstorm, the 729th Forward Support Battalion of the Maryland National Guard was called to active duty.

Headquartered in Hagerstown, the battalion assisted Maryland State Police in Hagerstown and Frederick, Md., with transportation during the worst of the storm and its aftermath, according to Major John Stevens.

"We were out from Sunday afternoon to Monday evening," Stevens said. "We had nine teams out."

These teams included two soldiers and a humvee, Stevens said.

"Our primary focus was to provide adequate transportation for public safety officers," Stevens said.

The teams took law enforcement officers to their calls during the storm, Stevens said, including to an accident near Hancock involving a snowplow.

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Local governments were required to request aid through the state and local emergency management channels, he said. In addition to state police, Stevens said the battalion aided the Frederick County Sheriff's Department and Frederick City Police.

"We didn't have any instances where we were stuck," Stevens said.

On Tuesday, the battalion's assignment was to get some rest. And to concentrate on preventive maintenance for their equipment.

"It's amazing what their dedication is," Stevens said.

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