AUGUSTA — A scheduled deployment to Kuwait in the spring of 2016 for members of the Maine National Guard’s 136th Engineer Company has been canceled, according to Brig. Gen. Gerard Bolduc, the interim adjutant general of Maine.

The cancellation is a direct result of a planned change in troop management that this week cost former Guard Adjutant Gen. James Campbell his job over his controversial plan to transform Maine’s 133rd Engineer Battalion into an infantry unit, according to Guard officials.

The cancellation notice by the National Guard Bureau indicates the plan to change the 133rd Engineer Battalion and other units into the 1st Battalion, 103rd Infantry Regiment, is well underway.

Gov. Paul LePage has vowed to keep the 133rd in Maine and is meeting with National Guard Bureau personnel on Wednesday to discuss the matter, Capt. Norm Stickney, spokesman for the Maine National Guard, said Friday.

“The governor and (Bolduc) are meeting next week and that is where we will learn if this can be stopped,” Stickney said. “We know that the Maine National Guard leadership and [National Guard Bureau] are talking, and it looks like it’s still a possibility.

“Timing is everything. The decision by the Army National Guard Bureau to cancel the 136th deployment was made before the governor [fired Campbell] and before Governor LePage said he would stop the engineers from moving,” Stickney said.

The 136th was notified by the National Guard Bureau in December that all 160 members of the Skowhegan and Lewiston-based unit would be heading to Kuwait in support of the drawdown of U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

“The deployment cancellation is not a complete surprise due to transformation timelines,” Bolduc said. “The Maine Army National Guard staff will ensure that we support our soldiers and their families throughout the deployment cancellation process.”

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