MDDF Commanding General Reflects on Tenure

By MAJ (MDDF) Stephen Rice
Maryland Defense Force Public Affairs
13 May 2015

After a distinguished 26 year career in the U.S. Navy Civil Engineer Corps, then Capt. Brian R. Kelm retired in 2003. Three years later he put on a different uniform as a colonel in the Maryland Defense Force (MDDF) and commander of the newly formed Engineer Corps. After five years as commander of a unit that eventually became the 121st Engineer Regiment, Col. (MDDF) Kelm was promoted to brigadier general and commanding general of the MDDF in 2011.

Brig. Gen. (MDDF) Kelm will step down as commanding general of the MDDF on Saturday, May 16 during the MDDF Annual Muster at the Fifth Regiment Armory in Baltimore, Maryland. After four years of leadership he will turn over the reins of a very different state military reserve component than the one he inherited. At the change of command ceremony, Brig. Gen. (MDDF) James F. Coleman, chief of staff and deputy commanding general of the MDDF will take on the responsibilities of commanding general of the MDDF.


“I am extremely proud of the work that the MDDF has done during my tenure as their commander and I’m even more excited about what the future holds,” said Kelm. “Over the last four years the MDDF state soldiers have volunteered over 200,000 man hours and saved the State of Maryland nearly $24 million dollars. It’s been a very busy four years, “he continued.

“We deployed in support of the state during hurricanes Irene and Sandy.” “The MDDF played a major role in the state’s support of the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812 during Sailabration in 2012 and Star Spangled Spectacular in 2014.” “A new unit, the MDDF Pioneer Company was launched at Anne Arundel Community College last year and last semester, the 121st Engineer Regiment taught an infrastructure course at the University of Maryland,” Kelm also shared.

Brig. Gen. (MDDF) Kelm also expressed immense pride that the “10th Medical Regiment has operated mobile hospitals for international ironman competitions and triathlons for the past two years while the 121st Engineers last year renovated the War of 1812 exhibit at the Maryland Military Museum at no charge to the state.” “I’m so proud of the men and women who wear the MDDF uniform,” Kelm concluded.

In addition, under Brig. Gen. (MDDF) Kelm’s leadership the MDDF has won some very prestigious awards. In April 2012 Maj. Gen. James A. Adkins who was serving as the adjutant general of Maryland at the time awarded the MDDF 10th Medical Regiment the Outstanding Unit Award. In 2013, the MDDF received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Maryland National Guard (MDNG) Freestate ChalleNGe Academy for exceptional support of the youth development program. Finally, in 2014 Salute Magazine named the MDDF 10th Medical Regiment the Unit of the Year. The 10th Medical Regiment beat out active duty, National Guard and reserve military units from across the country to achieve this special honor.

“I am most proud of the fact that the MDDF has become further integrated into the support of the MDNG during my service in the command billet.” “Our units have become more operational and more professional over the last four years and it was a joy to be a part of that progressive change.” “The MDDF will be in excellent hands under the leadership of Brig. Gen. (MDDF) James F. Coleman and I will be ready to support him and the MDDF in whatever capacity that is needed,” Kelm noted.

The Maryland Defense Force (MDDF) is the State’s uniformed volunteer military unit providing professional and technical assistance to the Maryland Military Department. Established in 1917, the MDDF consists of nearly 450 personnel who perform legal, engineering, finance, medical, chaplain, field support and ceremonial services for the State of Maryland. For more information: www.mddf.maryland.gov.