Read the speech that Gen. James Campbell was to deliver before the Legislature

AUGUSTA — Maine National Guard Adjutant General James D. Campbell, who was scheduled to address the House and Senate this morning, was relieved of duty shortly before the speech by Gov. Paul LePage.

“Based on an internal review of General Campbell, I have lost faith in his ability to lead Maine’s soldiers and airmen who serve so proudly in the National Guard,” LePage wrote in a statement. “Effectively immediately, I have relieved him of his command.”

Adrienne Bennett, a spokeswoman for the governor, said the internal review had been happening for some time, but did not say who conducted it. She said the decision to fire Campbell came this morning.

Campbell said he has worked tirelessly in his role to keep as many Mainers as possible in uniform and was completely surprised by LePage’s decision.

“The governor has made a decision and I wish the best of success for whoever my replacement is,” Campbell said. “I hope [he or she] is given the same level of support that I’ve received.

“I can’t say enough” about the support given by those who work in the Maine National Guard, Campbell said.

The Governor has named Brig. Gen. Gerard F. Bolduc as acting adjutant General, and commissioner of the Department of Defense, Veterans and Emergency Management — a post Campbell also held.

LePage administered the oath of office to Bolduc in the governor’s office on Tuesday morning.

Brig. Gen. Campbell has headed the Maine National Guard since Aug. 11, 2012. Campbell was scheduled to deliver the State of the Guard speech to lawmakers at 11 a.m. today. LePage cancelled a press conference that was scheduled for 12:30 p.m. at the State House, the subject of which was his proposal for new funding to bolster the state’s efforts to fight illegal drugs.

Campbell was recently the center of controversy when plans to transform Maine’s historic 133rd Engineer Battalion into an infantry unit were made public. At that time, LePage stood by the adjutant general, who said the move was necessary to maintain guard levels in Maine despite the shifting needs the guard nationally.

The story will be updated.

The 39th Adjutant General of Maine Annual address to the 127th Legislature

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