Annapolis, MD – In a formal ceremony held at the Fifth Regiment Armory in Baltimore, Governor Wes Moore oversaw the change of command for the new adjutant general for Maryland. Maj. Gen. Timothy E. Gowen, the 30th adjutant general for Maryland, officially handed over command of the Maryland National Guard and the Maryland Military Department to Maj. Gen. Janeen L. Birckhead.
Under Maj. Gen. Gowen’s leadership over the past three and a half years, the Maryland National Guard has reached new heights of excellence. Governor Moore expressed his confidence in Maj. Gen. Birckhead’s ability to lead with distinction and integrity, stating, “I have every confidence that Maj. Gen. Birckhead will work tirelessly to ensure that Maryland’s National Guard remains one of America’s very best military organizations.”
Earlier in the day, Maj. Gen. Birckhead was promoted from the brigadier general rank at a Morgan State University ceremony. She previously served as the assistant adjutant general-Army since May 2018. As the new adjutant general, Maj. Gen. Birckhead assumes responsibility for the Maryland Military Department’s daily operations, including the Maryland Army National Guard, Maryland Air National Guard, and Maryland Defense Force.
During the change of command ceremony, Maj. Gen. Birckhead expressed her commitment to the soldiers, airmen, and civilians who are part of the Maryland Military Department. She stated, “I do not take this charge lightly. I will use the breadth and depth of my experience to ensure readiness and do my best for you. I will remember my commitment to not only the Soldiers and Airmen but also the civilians who are a part of the Maryland Military Department.”
The adjutant general holds a crucial position as a member of the governor’s cabinet, responsible for the readiness, administration, and training of more than 7,000 members of the Military Department. In addition, the Maryland National Guard plays a significant role in the state’s economy, generating nearly $300 million annually.
Alongside the change of command ceremony for the adjutant general, two assumptions of command ceremonies also took place at the Fifth Regiment Armory. Brig. Gen. Drew E. Dougherty assumed command of the Maryland Air National Guard, taking over from retired Brig. Gen. Edward S. Jones. Furthermore, Col. Andrew W. Collins assumed command of the Maryland Army National Guard, succeeding Maj. Gen. Birckhead.
The change of command and assumption of command ceremonies highlight the Maryland National Guard’s commitment to a seamless transition in leadership and its dedication to maintaining the highest standards of excellence. As Maj. Gen. Birckhead assumes her new role; she will undoubtedly face the challenges and responsibilities with the same dedication and determination as her predecessor, Maj. Gen. Gowen.
The Maryland National Guard and the Maryland Military Department are essential in safeguarding the state’s security and providing support during emergencies and natural disasters, with Maj. Gen. Birckhead at the helm, the Maryland National Guard will continue its mission of serving the citizens of Maryland and upholding its reputation as one of America’s finest military organizations.
Governor Moore’s presence at the change of command ceremony signifies the importance and significance of the Maryland National Guard in the state’s defense and its commitment to supporting its military members as Maj. Gen. Birckhead embarks on this new chapter of leadership, and the Maryland National Guard can look forward to continued excellence and dedication under her guidance.