Ex-Marine to lead emergency agency


AUGUSTA (AP) – A career Marine who oversaw the emergency evacuation of 280 civilians from the American Embassy in Somalia in 1991 was nominated Thursday by Gov. John Baldacci to head the Maine Emergency Management Agency.

If confirmed by the Senate, Robert McAleer of Harpswell will head the agency that takes charge of response and recovery efforts in the event of state emergencies. The MEMA director has direct access to the governor when an emergency occurs.

McAleer, a University of Notre Dame graduate, served nearly 30 years with the military. As Battalion Commander of the 2nd Marine Regiment, he planned and executed the emergency evacuation of 280 civilians from the American Embassy in Mogadishu, Somalia, as part of Operation Eastern Exit in January 1991, for which McAleer earned the Bronze Star Medal.

From 1993 to 1996, McAleer was executive secretary for the Department of Defense, where he was awarded the Defense Distinguished Service Medal. He finished his career with the Marines as assistant chief of staff with the 1st Marine Division, where McAleer managed training plans for 20,000 people, developed operational plans and coordinated support to global operations.

Since 2004 McAleer has served as adjunct staff member for the National Emergency Response and Rescue Training Center at Texas A&M University. He has also conducted emergency response training exercises in Lincoln County and Brunswick, and assisted Brunswick with development of a town-wide safety program.

If he’s confirmed, McAleer will succeed Arthur Cleaves, who left the post last May to become New England director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The Maine Emergency Management Agency is part of the state Department of Defense, Veterans and Emergency Management.

On the Net:

Department of Defense, Veterans and Emergency Management: www.maine.gov/va/defense/dvs.htm