AUGUSTA — Maine’s newly appointed National Guard chief met with National Guard Bureau officials on Wednesday in Arlington, Virginia, to discuss the future configuration of guard forces in the state.

Brig. Gen. Gerald Bolduc, who took over for Brig. Gen. James Campbell after he was fired two weeks ago, sought the meeting as part of negotiations with National Guard Bureau leaders about plans to transform Maine’s 133rd Engineer Battalion into an infantry regiment.

The transformation plan, which Campbell formulated and submitted to guard leaders, led to his dismissal by Gov. Paul LePage. The plan has received preliminary approval at the federal level. Bolduc and LePage have stated they support an engineer unit remaining in Maine, contrary to Campbell’s plan.

“It was to establish a personal relationship and certainly a first step in negotiations,” Bolduc said Wednesday evening in an email after returning from the meeting with senior representatives of the Army National Guard at the Army National Guard Readiness Center.

“I’d been speaking to them on the telephone daily over the course of the last two weeks,” said Bolduc, who was appointed interim adjutant general on March 24 when LePage fired Campbell. “I felt it very important, as the acting adjutant general, to establish face-to-face contact and develop a personal relationship.

“We presented our courses of action and they presented theirs,” said Bolduc, giving no details or even mentioning the 133rd. “While no decisions are definitive at this time, we discussed the fluid environment of the National Guard, as well as the [National Guard Bureau’s] desire to work with Maine on its plan moving forward. During a time of continued global insecurity, our National Guard is our nation’s most cost-effective force, and I will advocate to strengthen our Guard.”

The transition plan — formulated by Campbell before he was fired, approved in draft form by the Department of the Army in January and set for approval later this year — would create the new 1st Battalion, 103rd Infantry Regiment. The new regiment would be formed by the 488th Military Police Company in Waterville, Bravo Company, 172nd Mountain Infantry unit based in Brewer, and four units from the 133rd — the 136th Engineer Company in Skowhegan and Lewiston, the 251st Engineer Company of Norway, and the Forward Support Company and Headquarters Company, both based in Augusta.

Discontinued units under the draft plan include the 1035th Survey and Design Team of Portland, the 1968th Contingency Contracting Team and the 121st Public Affairs Department, both based in Augusta.

The state would retain two engineer companies — the 262nd Engineer Company based in Westbrook and the 185th Engineer Support Company from Caribou — if the 133rd to 103rd transition takes place.

“I can say with the utmost confidence the Maine National Guard stands ready to respond to any crisis at any time at home or abroad, and I will continue to see that our soldiers and airmen receive the support they need to fulfil the duties asked of them,” Bolduc said.

The state’s top military leader ended by saying, “As you know, this is an ongoing process.”


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