Major General Douglas Farnham used his annual state of the National Guard speech to lawmakers to praise past and current members of the Guard and its predecessor, the Maine Militia.
Farnham told of several current Guard members who have contributed to the state and nation, including Master Sergeant Rick Martell of the Air Guard, who volunteered past his 60th birthday to continue to serve on air refueling tankers.
“[Martell] is not here today because, with less than a week’s notice, he is deployed to the middle east as a last minute volunteer backfilling for an airman who suffered appendicitis just days before his scheduled departure.”
Farnham said many leaders of the state have served as citizen soldiers over the state’s 200 year history. He pointed out that Joshua Chamberlain was not only a civil war hero, but led the Maine militia to respond to state problems.
“Most know Joshua Chamberlain’s involvement in the 1880 constitutional crisis, helping to maintain the peaceful and lawful transition of power,” he said. “Many don’t know he did that in his capacity as commander of the Maine Militia. Now, don’t go getting any ideas. I certainly don’t need you guys to create a constitutional crisis. Remember, we are not Washington, we are Maine.”
Farnham said 11 percent of Mainers have served in the military, one of the highest percentages in the nation.
Correction 2:17 p.m. Feb. 18, 2020: an original version of this post misspelled Martell's name