Martin State Air National Guard Base, Md. --
Maryland Gov. Wes Moore made his first visit to the 175th Wing at Martin State Air National Guard Base to sign veteran-related bills May 12.
During his visit, Gov. Moore, Lt. Gov. Aruna Miller, and other state political leaders signed six bills, including the Healthcare For Heroes Act, in front of an A-10C Thunderbolt II aircraft and with Maryland Guard members in attendance.
The Health Care for Heroes Act of 2023 establishes the Tricare Premium Reimbursement Program within the Maryland Military Department. The program will provide members of the Maryland National Guard who utilize the DoD-provided Tricare Reserve Select reimbursements for monthly premiums.
“We need to support our military community because they make our state better—whether they are active duty, reservists, or veterans,” said Gov. Moore. “For Maryland to win this decade, we need to make Maryland the best state in the nation to serve in uniform and the best state in the nation to live after discharge. The bipartisan legislation I signed today sets us on that path, and shows our commitment to bettering the lives of our men and women that have sacrificed so much.”
Before signing the bills, Gov. Moore administered the oath of enlistment to Zion Rawls, who will serve in the Maryland Air National Guard’s 104th Fighter Squadron as an aviation resource manager.
“Today was an honor and is quite humbling,” said Rawls. “I never imagined that I would be part of such a historic event.”
Maryland Senate President Bill Ferguson and Maryland House Speaker Adrienne Jones took part in the bill signings and Maryland Air National Guard Brig. Gen. Drew Dougherty, assistant adjutant general - Air, and Maryland Army National Guard Col. Andrew Collins, Maryland National Guard deputy adjutant general and commander of the Maryland Army National Guard, were part of the event with other Guard members.
Other bills included the Keep Our Heroes Home Act, which will increase the military retirement income tax exemption for veterans, spouses, or anyone receiving military pensions in Maryland.
“Today recognizes the contributions of our Soldiers, Airmen, and their families,” said Maryland Army National Guard Brig. Gen. Janeen Birckhead, adjutant general of Maryland. “I am so proud to serve in a state that cares enough about its service members to introduce this legislation and recognize their contributions to the state and nation.”