March 18, 2023 email@example.com
MDDF Soldier, NCO and Officer of the Year for 2022 Honored at State House
On March 16, 2023 the Maryland Defense Force’s (MDDF) Soldier, non-commissioned officer (NCO) and officer of the year were recognized with their counterparts from the Maryland National Guard at the Maryland General Assembly. All three MDDF honorees were presented with formal resolutions from the Maryland House of Delegates and the Maryland Senate that were signed by Delegate Adrienne A. Jones, speaker of the House of Delegates and Senator Bill Ferguson, president of the Senate respectively. Sgt. (MD) Matthew K. Yates is the MDDF Soldier of the year, Sgt. First Class (MD) John W. Groves is the MDDF non-commissioned officer (NCO) of the year and Capt. (MD) Jason Keppler is the MDDF officer of the year.
Sgt. (MD) Matthew K. Yates joined the MDDF in 2020 and is detailed to the 27th Training Battalion as the 10thMedical Regiment’s regimental NCO for operations, plans and training. Prior to his current assignment, Yates served as the 10th Medical Regiment medical NCO for the public health section. Sgt. (MD) Yates has earned the State Guard Association of the United States (SGAUS) Expert Medical badge, the basic Military Emergency Management Specialist badge and completed the MDDF Basic Leadership, Basic Instructor and Advanced Leader courses. He has also completed the SGAUS Primary Leader, Advanced Leader and Senior Leader courses, as well as a number of other leadership and educator development programs. Yates is also the first in the State of Maryland to receive the International Board of Specialty Certifications “Tactical Responder” certification.
“Sgt. (MD) Yates has not only displayed the core values of Loyalty, Duty, Responsibility, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity and Personal Courage, but he has demonstrated a desire to instill them in the soldiers around him,” said Lt. Col. (MD) John Green who served as commander of the 10th Medical Regiment. “Additionally, Sgt. (MD) Yates has gone out of his way to find solutions to problems which had been seen as insurmountable, as well as providing guidance and recommendation to anyone within the MDDF who seeks his counsel. Sgt. (MD) Yates has displayed an infectious “can-do” attitude when given a task, and does everything in his power to motivate those around him,” Green concluded.
Sgt. First Class (MD) John W. Groves has been a member of the MDDF for four years and serves with the 256th Cyber Defense Unit. Groves serves as the information technology infrastructure NCO within the unit. He is a recipient of the Presidential Volunteer Service Award (Bronze) and two MDDF Achievement Ribbons.
“Sgt. First Class (MD) Groves has been an exemplary member of the 256th Cyber Defense Unit over the last several years and has contributed to the Unit’s goal of being a leader in the information security and technology space. He has utilized his experience as an information technology professional to ensure that our unit has capable staff who are well versed in networking and systems administration,” shared Maj. (MD) Jeremy O’Mard, commander of the 256th Cyber Defense Unit. O’Mard added, “These skills have been utilized both in support of the MDDF as well as in external exercises and training events with the Maryland National Guard and the Virginia Defense Force. Sgt. First Class (MD) Groves’ initiative and skill set has allowed our unit to remain effective both in garrison and in the field.”
Capt. (MD) Jason Keppler has been a member of the MDDF for 13 years and has prior service in the Maryland Army National Guard. He currently serves as the personnel officer for the 121st Engineer Regiment and has previously served in various other roles within the regiment such as geospatial engineer and staff engineer. During his MDDF tenure he has earned the President’s Volunteer Service Award (Gold), the Maryland Meritorious Service Medal, the Maryland Commendation Medal (with one bronze oak leaf cluster), the Maryland State Service Medal and other recognition.
“Capt. (MD) Keppler showed exemplary service to the people of Maryland through his work with the Maryland National Guard’s Joint Staff. During his tenure he worked over 1200 hours and used his civilian job skills to produce 100 graphic and narrative products,” said Lt. Col. (MD) Isadore Beattie who serves as the executive officer for the 121st Engineer Regiment. Beattie continued, “His graphic and narrative products were used by the Maryland National Guard Joint Staff, the Vaccine Task Force, and the Adjutant General for mission analysis. Capt. (MD) Keppler’s outstanding efforts reflect great credit on himself, the Maryland Defense Force, Maryland National Guard and the State of Maryland.”
“Each of the award recipients have distinguished themselves in their service to the State of Maryland. Their commitment to high standards of excellence exemplifies the MDDF motto, ‘Ready, when called’,” said Brig. Gen. (MD) Gregory J. Juday, commanding general of the MDDF.
The Maryland Defense Force (MDDF) is the State’s uniformed volunteer militia unit providing competent, supplementary, professional and technical support and soldiers to the Maryland Military Department and the State of Maryland as needed. Established in 1917, the MDDF consists of nearly 200 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.