Carroll County judge closes military career as general

Former state politician says he won't leave bench

May 02, 1999|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,SUN STAFF

Forty years after enlisting in the U.S. Marine Corps, Judge Raymond E. Beck Sr. has been retired from the Maryland Army National Guard, with a promotion to brigadier general.

His brevet commission as a one-star general took effect April 1 and applies in the state of Maryland, said Chief Warrant Officer Edward Ferris, a spokesman for Beck's regiment. The honor came one day after Beck's official retirement and separation date from the military -- the result of his turning 60 on March 5.

Although he could be recalled to duty by the president or the governor in the event of an emergency, Beck said that is unlikely.

As a colonel in the National Guard, Beck commanded the 70th Leadership Training Regiment at Camp Fretterd, based since 1989 at the old Montrose School north of Reisterstown. He joined the Guard as a major in 1981 and has about 24 years of service, including six years as a Marine on both active and reserve status.

"I hit my age of military senility -- age 60 -- on March 5," said Beck jokingly. He has served since 1989 as a judge on the Carroll County Circuit Court, and Maryland judges need not retire until age 70. Beck previously was a state senator and delegate for Carroll.

His military duties offered a welcome contrast to what he sees in the courtroom, Beck said. "It's been a needed diversion to see young people who have their heads on straight."

Beck's military life began in August 1956, when he enlisted in the Marine Corps and attended the Mine Warfare and Demolition School. He served on active duty until August 1959, then spent another three years in the reserves.

In 1981, Beck re-entered military service and was appointed an assistant staff judge-advocate with the rank of major in the Maryland Army National Guard. In 1986, he was reassigned to the Maryland Military Academy as commander of the officer-candidate school and was promoted to lieutenant colonel in 1987.

The training regiment for officer candidates and noncommissioned officers covers five states, including Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia and West Virginia, and the District of Columbia, said Ferris.

In May 1989, Beck became the commandant of the military academy and was promoted to full colonel. He saw the school through two reorganizations: first as the Mid-Atlantic Leadership Brigade, then as the 70th Leadership Training Regiment.

His own military education included judge-advocate officer basic training, the Military District of Washington Air Assault School, and the Command and General Staff Officer Course.

His awards and decorations include the Army Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (Taiwan Straits), the Armed Forces Reserve Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, the Army Overseas Service Ribbon, the State of Maryland's Distinguished Service Cross and its Meritorious Service and Maryland National Guard State Service medals.

Beck was honored at a retirement dinner March 27 at the Officers Club at Fort Meade.

This October will mark 10 years since he was named to the Circuit Court, where he now is the administrative judge, but Beck said he's not thinking about retiring from the courtroom any time soon.

Speculation probably was fueled not only by his retirement from military service, the judge said, but also because he and his wife are building a weekend get-away home near Cambridge on the Eastern Shore.

"I don't know whether I will or not," he said cheerfully. "I'm just 60, so I won't hit statutory senility till 70."

Pub Date: 5/02/99

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