National Guard unit re-established on Shore Historic 1229th, disbanded in 1993, is restored

April 13, 1997|By Larry Carson | Larry Carson,SUN STAFF

A Maryland Army National Guard unit that served during the Gulf War but was disbanded in 1993 as a cost-saving move was formally re-established yesterday in ceremonies in Crisfield.

A second -- and new -- Guard unit, the 243rd Combat Equipment Support Company, based in Salisbury, was created during ceremonies later in the day, according to Col. Howard S. Freedlander, the Maryland National Guard's executive officer.

The return of the Lower Shore's 1229th Transportation Company occasioned strong emotions because the 170-member unit traces its roots to World War I as part of the old, storied Maryland 29th Infantry Division, Freedlander said.

In addition, the unit had become ensconced in close-knit Crisfield, an isolated and economically depressed Somerset County town.

The new 180-member engineering unit is vital to the Guard's state mission, Freedlander said, because it will be available in the event of natural disasters on the Eastern Shore. A detachment of engineers temporarily assigned there from Prince Frederick in Calvert County has returned to its base across the Chesapeake Bay.

Two other Guard engineering units are located in far western Maryland and in Reisterstown.

"In this era of drawdowns, we brought back something old and renewed it," Freedlander said, crediting the persistence of the Guard's commander, Lt. Gen. James F. Fretterd, in beseeching the Army to bring back the old transportation unit.

Guard units "have significant economic impact" on the Lower Shore, Freedlander said, because of the pay and as a training ground for truck drivers, "a means to jobs in the civilian world."

Pub Date: 4/13/97

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