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Maine National Guard Head: War Service No Longer Rare For Members

Courtesy Maine National Guard

War experience is now common among most current members of the Maine National Guard, the head of the force told Maine lawmakers Tuesday.

In his annual "State of the National Guard" speech to the Maine Legislature, Maj. Gen. Douglas Farnham said most Guard members now serving have been active during a war somewhere around the globe.

“Most of our soldiers and airmen have never known the military not at war - in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria or wherever we need to go to fight violent extremism,” he said.

Gen. Farnham noted that it was 100 years ago this month that some 3,500 Maine Army National Guard members deployed to France in World War I - the first time National Guard soldiers served alongside regular Army units.

“When these soldiers returned home to Maine, they became the community leaders of our next several generations, building Maine through industry, labor, veterans organizations, politics,” he said.

Farnham spoke before a joint session of the Maine Legislature.  The head of the Maine National Guard updates the Legislature annually on the state of the force.

Journalist Mal Leary spearheads Maine Public's news coverage of politics and government and is based at the State House.