29th ID officer from Maryland National Guard identified as casualty in Afghanistan

Maj. Marchanti in Afghanistan

RICHMOND, Va. — Maj. Robert Marchanti, a Maryland Army National Guard officer assigned to the Fort Belvoir-based 29th Infantry Division, was one of two officers killed in the Feb. 25 attack at the Interior Ministry in Kabul, Afghanistan.

“The entire 29th Division family is shocked and saddened by the event that has transpired in Kabul,” said Maj. Gen. Frank E. Batts, Jr., commander of the 29th Infantry Division. “Our hearts go out to Maj. Marchanti’s family. Brig. Gen. Whittington and his team of senior officers and noncommissioned officers have been doing an outstanding job in mentoring and preparing Afghan security forces for their critical role in securing their own country, and I know that this highly professional team will mourn the loss of its comrade but will continue on with its mission.”

Marchanti served as an embedded advisor for the National Police Coordination Center and was one of about 65 Virginia and Maryland National Guard Soldiers from the 29th serving as mentors and advisors to Afghan security forces as part of the 29th Infantry Division Afghan National Security Forces Development team. The Soldiers officially began federal active duty Sept. 11, 2011.

“Our ‘Tribe’ mourns the loss of this tremendous officer and long-time family member of the Army National Guard,” said Brig. Gen. Charles W. Whittington, Jr., director of ANSF Development. “I and many others from our team here have served with Bob in the past and will always remember him for his friendship, professionalism and steadfast dedication to duty. As a commander, Bob was treasured for his commitment to the training, readiness, and welfare of the Soldiers in his care.  As an educator, Bob was beloved by his students and embodied the spirit of the Guard’s citizen Soldiers. As the 29th Infantry Division continues our service here, please know that we intend to honor Bob’s sacrifice through our commitment to the mission, and in keeping with his character, finishing strong.”

The Virginia National Guard also has about 40 Soldiers serving in Afghanistan as a security force for the Uruzgan Provincial Reconstruction Team. The Soldiers are assigned to the Hampton-based 1st Battalion, 111th Field Artillery, 116th Brigade Combat Team, but are from all over the state including Northern Virginia, Charlottesville, Staunton, Norfolk and the Hampton Roads area, as well as Southern Virginia. The Soldiers began federal active duty March 28, 2011.

Marchanti also served alongside many Virginia Army National Guard Soldiers during the KFOR 8 mission from 2006 to 2007.

According to the Maryland National Guard, Marchanti joined the Active duty Army in 1984 before joining the Maryland National Guard in 1986. He worked full-time for the Maryland National Guard in the Construction and Facilities Management Office at the 5th Regiment Armory in Baltimore. He was married and had four children and one grandson.

Maj. Marchanti is the twelfth Maryland Army National Guardsman to lose his life in the Global War on Terror. Since 9/11, nearly 10,400 Maryland National Guard Soldiers and Airmen have been called to support various mobilizations including Operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and the relief efforts for multiple hurricanes and snow storms.