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Sergeant major's appointment brings attention of Annapolis to Carroll County

The attached photo is a submitted photo, dated March 26, 2009. It is Command Sgt. Maj. Thomas B. Beyard of Westminster
The attached photo is a submitted photo, dated March 26, 2009. It is Command Sgt. Maj. Thomas B. Beyard of Westminster (Submitted photo)

On Jan. 21, the adjutant general of Maryland, Brig. Gen. Linda Singh, announced that she had appointed Command Sgt. Maj. Thomas Beyard, of Westminster, to be the senior enlisted leader of the Maryland National Guard, its top enlisted position.

Beyard's individual awards and decorations include the Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal and Army Commendation Medal. He was deployed twice to the Middle East, in 2006 and 2011.

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Many know him as the former Westminster director of planning and public works. He first joined the city in 1987.

He joins a growing chorus of individuals with strong ties to Carroll County who are now assuming leadership positions in the state government — and especially in the administration of Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, who was sworn into office on a snowy, cold day on Jan. 21.

Among them are former state Sen. David Brinkley, a Republican who represented portions of Frederick and Carroll counties, who has been picked to head the Department of Budget and Management and former state Sen. Joe Getty, a Republican from District 5 in the county, who will serve as the administration's policy and legislative director.

Arguably, not since the days when Carroll County native son Frank Brown, a Democrat from Sykesville, served as the governor of Maryland from 1892-96, has the county had so much responsibility in Annapolis.

Singh, from the Frederick County side of Taylorsville, spent a great deal of her childhood in Carroll County. In August of 2013, she became the first female and the first African-American to rise to the rank of commander of the Maryland National Guard.

On Dec. 23, 2014, about six weeks after last fall's elections, then-Gov.-elect Hogan selected Singh to be the 29th adjutant general to serve Maryland since 1794. According to information from its website, the Maryland Military Department is controlled by the office of the adjutant general and oversees a number of state military and emergency operations and functions.

Singh's first official responsibility was to announce the governor-elect into the senate chamber so he could be sworn in as Maryland's 62nd governor.

Authorization for a military force in Maryland dates back to the Maryland Charter of 1632, which empowered Lord Baltimore to raise troops. Several companies from Carroll County served in the 6th Maryland Volunteer Infantry in 1864 during the American Civil War. They served, most notably in the horrific Petersburg and Wilderness campaigns near Richmond.

The history of Carroll County units of the National Guard dates back to when local men formed short-lived National Guard companies in 1867 and 1879, according to research by historian Jay Graybeal.

"A more permanent unit" was organized on March 20, 1899. Subsequent variations of this unit, Co. H and later a part of the 29th Division, "were called up in June 1916 when Pancho Villa was active on the border and war with Mexico seemed imminent…

"And later in World War 1 and II — where they participated in the D-Day invasion at Normandy," reported Graybeal in research for the Historical Society of Carroll County.

Hopefully the service of Beyard and Singh in Annapolis will not be as perilous.

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