Maine National Guard

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The Maine National Guard is confirming that a unit of the air guard's refueling wing last year stopped at a Scottish airport and stayed at President Trump's nearby luxury resort.

BANGOR, Maine - Nearly 70 soldiers from Maine National Guard's 286th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion are being deployed to Poland.

AUGUSTA, Maine - The new Maine National Guard Joint Force Headquarters is taking shape in Augusta.
 
Officials say construction is about 70 percent complete, and Camp Chamberlain is due to be completed by year's end. Col. Norm Michaud tells the Kennebec Journal that personnel will begin moving from the existing headquarters to the 100,000-square-foot, two-story building in January.
 
The move will bring together the headquarters staff of the Army and Air National Guard for the first time. Work on the $32 million project began in 2015.
 

AUGUSTA, Maine - In his annual state of the Maine National Guard address, Brig. Gen. Doug
Farnham told lawmakers there will likely be future guard deployments around the world.  

But Farnham says voters' recent decision to legalize recreational marijuana will make Guard recruitment more difficult.

“Marijuana use complicates enlisting in the military, can affect the ability to get security clearances and cannot be used by military members. As we move forward I am concerned that it will become even more difficult for many to make good choices.”

The Maine National Guard is getting smaller.

Brig. Gen. Doug Farnham says the state will lose about 120 positions over the next three years as the guard realigns its forces.

Farnham, the adjutant general for the Maine National Guard, says the reduction’s phase-in through attrition over the next three years will allow his forces to prepare for the change, which will bring total numbers down to about 2,100 by year’s end.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Gov. Paul LePage has signed into law a bill aimed law aimed at bolstering and updating a Maine agency that supports veterans' services.

The new law provides state community college and university tuition waivers to members of the Maine National Guard who remain in good standing.

Republican Rep. Brad Farrin of Norridgewock says Maine had been the only state in New England that didn't offer tuition assistance to state Guard members.

AUGUSTA, Maine - National Guard officials broke ground for the new 100,000-square-foot Camp Chamberlain  that will house the state headquarters of both the Army and Air National Guard.

The facility is  in Augusta near the Veterans Cemetery. Acting Adjutant Gen. Gerry Bolduc says it will replace some very old buildings at the current headquarters located at Camp Keyes near the Augusta Airport.

AUGUSTA, Maine - The 136th Engineering Company of the Maine Army National Guard was scheduled to be deployed to Kuwait next year, but that deployment has now been canceled amid questions from the Pentagon about the structure of the Maine National Guard.

SKOWHEGAN, Maine - The planned deployment of a Maine National Guard unit to Kuwait next year has been canceled.
 
The 136th Engineer Company headquartered in Skowhegan had been planning to deploy in the spring of 2016. The 160-member unit was supposed to provide installation upgrades and support the draw-down of American forces in Afghanistan.
 

AUGUSTA, Maine - The head of the Maine Army National Guard is speaking out in opposition to a Pentagon plan that would reduce the size of the Guard, in order to maintain more regular Army units. Maine Adjutant Gen. James Campbell has the support of Gov. Paul LePage.

Maine, like other states, has two National Guard components: the Army Guard and the Air Force Guard. And the Pentagon treats them differently. The Army wants to reduce the Army National Guard in favor of more regular Army units, while the Air Force considers its Guard units as an integral part of its force structure.

PORTLAND, Maine - About 30 members of the Maine National Guard are home from a six-month deployment to Afghanistan.

Thirteen members of the 243rd Engineering Installation Squadron arrived late Tuesday and another 15 arrived shortly before noon Wednesday to waiting family and friends at the Portland International Jetport.

During their deployment, the airmen provided communications upgrades to air bases across Afghanistan and removed equipment from bases that are closing.

WESTBROOK, Maine - A Maine Army National Guard unit's deployment to Afghanistan has been canceled.

The Portland Press Herald reports that the 262nd Engineer Company was supposed to leave in December to assist in rebuilding operations.

Brig. Gen. James Campbell said in a statement that the Maine Guard had known for some time that the 150-member Westbrook-based company's deployment could be canceled as the U.S. draws down of forces in Afghanistan.

Mal Leary / MPBN

Hoping to put all questions about the future of Maine's National Guard - as he put it - "To bed," Gov. Paul LePage called a press conference with Adj. Gen. James Campbell to discuss what's known and not known about a much larger restructuring of the U.S. military. LePage says the issue is being studied by a panel, and the media coverage in recent weeks of the possible loss of the 133rd Engineer Battalion has been well ahead of itself. But Campbell repeated his prediction that Maine will be targeted for change by top brass.

Gov. Paul LePage met today with Brig. Gen. James Campbell, the leader of the Maine National Guard, to discuss contingency plans to meet proposed cuts in the size of the National Guard across the country. LePage defends Campbell, and says the issue has, unfortunately, become politicized. But an email from Campbell to staff of Maine's congressional delegation indicates Campbell wants basic changes in the guard, whether or not those cuts come to fruition.

Responding to issues raised in a series of articles recently published in the Portland Press Herald, the head of Maine's National Guard today attempted to set the record straight in an email to soldiers and their families.  Brig. Gen. James Campbell said he would not address the specific allegations in the published reports except for one:  the possible relocation of the 133rd Engineer Battalion from Maine.  Susan Sharon reports.