GLEN BURNIE, Md. (WJZ) — More than seven decades of service and tradition are still protecting Maryland today.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, a once all-Black military unit of the Maryland National Guard is carrying on its mission.

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The 1229 Transportation Company is one of the teams helping to distribute supplies amid the pandemic. The group is facilitating sites like one in Glen Burnie to ensure the community’s health and safety.

Across the state, they have distributed meals, personal protective equipment and other valuables.


The formerly all-Black independent militia has been protecting Baltimore since the late 1800s.

“We’re helping to support the Department of Health, MEMA, the Joint Forces. It’s really been a collective effort,” Cpt. Raffaele Simpson, the group’s commander, said.

One of those helping out is Sgt. Timothy Myers from Baltimore.

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“It’s thoughtless for me. It feels… as if I’m giving to my family. It’s like I’m helping my family out,” he said.

At the Cade Armory in west Baltimore, history from the 231st Battalion and beyond line the walls from World War I to the Korean War, where veteran and historian Louis Diggs lived to tell part of the story of segregation.

“I did not come up amongst white people — not in Sandtown. It was a Jewish town other than stores. We didn’t interact with white people. I was scared to death,” Diggs said.

Seven decades later and more than 364,000 cases of coronavirus in Maryland later, 1229 is united and helping millions, still protecting us all.

“‘When times are tough, we step up’ is the motto,” Simpson said. “We take it on the chin and just make things happen.”

Missions like these as well as mass vaccinations are expected to expand and grow as more things become online. The 1229 transportation company will be there every step of the way.

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For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.