March 28, 2006: Caspar Weinberger, U.S. secretary of defense for seven years under President Ronald Reagan, dies at age 88 at Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor from pneumonia complications.

In the Reagan administration, Weinberger took the lead in directing a rollback strategy against Soviet communism. He was indicted in the Iran-Contra scandal, involving a violation of an embargo on weapons sales to Iran, but President George H.W. Bush pardoned him in December 1992, just before Bush left office. Weinberger maintained his innocence.

Weinberger also served President Richard Nixon in the Federal Trade Commission, as head of the new Office of Management and Budget, and as secretary of health, education and welfare. He continued in the last of these under President Gerald Ford until 1975.

In his 2001 memoir, Weinberger summed up his worldview by writing, “Those who know anything about me know that I believe that lasting peace can be achieved only by American power and the will to use that power.”

Weinberger was living on Mount Desert Island in retirement. His wife, the former June Dalton, grew up near where the Weinbergers bought their Mount Desert Island home in 1977.

Joseph Owen is a retired copy desk chief of the Morning Sentinel and Kennebec Journal and board member of the Kennebec Historical Society. He can be contacted at: [email protected]

 


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