4-3-12: The War on Terror and the Maryland National Guard
The National Guard has been around for 375 years. Its ideal is the citizen-soldier: someone who maintains a life in his or her community, but is also willing to defend the entire country. On February 25, a member of the Maryland National Guard was killed in Afghanistan. Maj. Robert J. Marchanti II was 48, and had spent more than half his life–25 years–in the National Guard. As a citizen, Maj. Marchanti was a physical education teacher in Baltimore County. He died as a soldier inside an Afghan ministry.
The typical National Guard commitment—two weeks of training, and one weekend a month—gave us the popular perception of the “weekend warrior,” but that was before the identity of the Guard expanded so deeply into the front lines. Since the attacks of September 2011, hundreds of thousands of National Guard members have deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, and many, like Maj. Marchanti, have made the ultimate sacrifice.
Today, Sheilah talks to Maj. Marchanti’s daughter Leah. Then we explore how the shift in the National Guard’s role is affecting families with Larry Minear, author of a report called The U.S. Citizen-Soldier and the Global War on Terror: The National Guard Experience, and Maj. Gen. James A. Adkins, who, as the adjutant general for Maryland, is in charge of daily operations of the Maryland Air and Army National Guard, as well as envisioning its future.