Lt. Col. Adkins speaking with Fred Ise at the 1996 “Partnership Celebration” at the Baltimore Estonian House. Between them is Franek Persidski, an Estonian cadet at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. Franek was later Consul General of Estonia in St. Petersburg, Russia, but was expelled in 2013 by the Russian government, which claimed that he was an officer in the Estonian “security police.”
On Saturday, February 28, there will be a special ceremony at the 5th Regiment Armory of Baltimore, Maryland, to mark a change in command of the Maryland National Guard and the retirement of its present commander, Major General James A. Adkins, the adjutant general of the State of Maryland.
As adjutant general, a cabinet position he has held since 2008, General Adkins has been responsible for the daily operations of the Maryland Military Department, which includes, besides the Maryland National Guard, the Maryland Emergency Management Agency and the Maryland Defense Force. He will be replaced by Maj. Gen. Linda L. Singh.
General Adkins and the Maryland National Guard have had a significant part in the US-Estonia military relationship and the preparation of Estonia for NATO membership. In 1994, upon a request by the US Government, Maryland became the partner of Estonia within the NATO – sponsored “Partnership for Peace (P f P) Program”. Thus, it fell upon the Maryland National Guard to assist the newly-formed Estonian defense forces in their development toward NATO standards.
The coordination of these activities became the responsibility of then Lt. Col. Adkins. His effective leadership and personal commitment helped Estonia achieve NATO membership in 1999.
However, upon achieving this goal, he did not stop his efforts on behalf of Estonia and even after his promotion to adjutant general of Maryland, he continued his personal contributions and frequent trips to Estonia.
In recognition of his outstanding support, the Republic of Estonia has awarded General Adkins the “Order of the Cross of the Eagle, 2nd Class” and the “Order of the White Star”.
I am sure I am speaking for many Estonians in the US and Estonia when I say: “Thank you, Jim, and have a pleasant retirement on your beloved Maryland Eastern Shore!”