Tag Archives: Maine National Guard

Bangor Air National Guard base bigger, more active after 9/11 | Bangor Daily News

The mission and scope of the Maine Air National Guard base in Bangor — the state’s only active military base and home to the 101st Air Refueling Wing — developed into something new in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

“We’re a lot more active,” MAINEics pilot Lt. Col. Adam Jenkins, who is the 132nd Air Refueling Squadron commander, said recently.

After 9/11, the Bangor-based air refueling wing added approximately 150 full-time active-duty personnel to its roster and now handles or manages nearly 15 percent of the air refueling missions worldwide, according to Lt. Col. Debbie Kelley, a spokeswoman for 101st.

The MAINEiacs have 10 KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft, which essentially are flying gas stations that can refuel other airplanes — a crucial function during wartime — and now plays a key role in most military missions the U.S. undertakes, Maj. Gen. John W. Libby, adjutant general of the Maine National Guard, said last week.

“When America goes, we go,” Libby said. “That’s a big change for the air guard.”

Click for the rest of the story by Nok-Noi Ricker in The Bangor Daily News, along with video.


Photographer captures National Guard soldiers in civilian workplaces | Lewiston Sun Journal

On a 4-degree January morning, Buddy Doyle pulled off the road to wish a random soldier luck in Iraq.

“We argue to this day who initiated the long, lingering hug,” said Doyle of Gardiner. “I told him, ‘Take care of yourself. Don’t do anything stupid.’”

A year and a half after that chance meeting near the National Guard armory in Gardiner, when the soldier had returned home, Doyle looked the guy up.

“I had told him I wanted to shake his hand,” he said. “I still did.”

He had another goal, too.

A photographer, writer and designer, Doyle had spent years creating glossy calenders of firefighters. Now he hatched a plan to take portraits of reservists guard members at their civilian jobs. He wanted the soldier’s help.

Click on the link for the rest of today’s story by Daniel Hartill in the Lewiston Sun Journal.

‘Warrior of Warriors’ honored at funeral | The Morning Sentinel, Waterville, ME

‘Warrior of Warriors’ honored at funeral | The Morning Sentinel, Waterville, ME

Memories of a fallen hero | The Morning Sentinel

Maine Congressional delegation sends off 1136th in crowded ceremony at UMaine | Bangor Daily News

Congressional delegation sends off 1136th in crowded ceremony at UMaine – Bangor Daily News.

More Maine Guard soldiers going to Afghanistan | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

More Maine Guard soldiers going to Afghanistan | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram.

Maine troops likely to take on Taliban in the next month | Portland Press Herald

Maine troops likely to take on Taliban in the next month | Portland Press Herald.

Air Guard squadron returns – Bangor Daily News

(More units are returning from war. — KM)

 Air Guard squadron returns – Bangor Daily News.

286th returns to Bangor after yearlong Afghan deployment – Bangor Daily News

Glad you are home and thank you for your service.

286th returns to Bangor after yearlong Afghan deployment – Bangor Daily News.

286th Guard unit returning home – Bangor Daily News

Cool for them!

 286th Guard unit returning home – Bangor Daily News.

Support – barely – for ‘We Support Our Troops’ plate


Mainers were able to purchase enough "We Support Our Troops" vehicle license plates to keep it from being retired.

 Mainers have purchased enough “We Support Our Troops” license plates – just by a hair – to guarantee the plate will be around for the foreseeable future. That is good for Maine, Mainers in uniform, their families, and veterans. 

According to a story today in the Portland Press Herald, Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap said sales of the plate – which shows a yellow ribbon over an image of the state to the left of the plate number and “We Support Our Troops” over a emerald forest background across the bottom of the plate – needed to hit the 4,000 annual sales mark or the plate would be retired. The plate hit 4,017 as of Monday, according to the story by Press Herald staffer Beth Quimby.  However, the sales have not been enough to assure the plate’s long-term viability, according to Quimby’s story.  

For those outside of Maine, the standard plate carries an image of the state bird, a chickadee; I believe it is perched on the Maine state flower, the white pine cone and tassel. Two popular specialty plates include one with an image of a lobster, which is on 25,511 Maine vehicles, and the agriculture plate, which was launched the same year as the “We Support Our Troops” was launched and is on 13,250 vehicles, according to the story.Dunlap a couple of months ago warned that if sales did not pick up the plate could be retired. Military groups and some businesses got behind the sales effort. 

And why not. There are 900 or so members of the Maine National Guard – including a guy I went to high school with – who will be shipping out to Afghanistan and Iraq after the first of the year. 

A portion of the sales fee – $10 of the total $55 fee for the plate – goes to supporting families of Maine troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. So far $40,000 has been raised. “Yellow ribbon license plates play an indispensable role in supporting the military,” Capt. Shanon Cotta, spokesman for the Maine Army National Guard, said in the Press Herald story. 

There seems to be a bipartisan effort in the state to lower the threshold to 3,500 plates rather than the 4,000 limit. The lawmaker who first proposed the plate, a Democrat, has been marketing the plate to some groups – in some cases to a membership that had not known of the plate – and a Republican is working to have fellow state lawmakers lower the arbitrary 4,000 level. 

I suppose I can understand the reluctance of some Maine motorists to get the specialty plate. The specialty plate fee is $20 more than for the standard chickadee plate. A tough economy has been even tougher on small states such as Maine, so an extra $20 means more than it would some other places. And some people – for some unknown, warped reason – still equate supporting troops with supporting the war they have been sent to fight. It is not. Others might not get the plate for fear of retaliation from war protesters, the same people who equate supporting troops with supporting the war. 

The plate is good because it tells the men and women who wear the uniform that they are supported in a clear and open way. And each time they see a plate, perhaps they recall that part of the fee goes to supporting their families why they are serving the country. That is good for the morale of the troops, their families, veterans who might not have received the same support in another era, and to a public weary after years of war. 

I am not the type to put a magnetic “ribbon” on my car. I am a reserved person. (A “reserved” Mainer may be a redundancy.) But I might consider getting the plate if I wasn’t from away. 

Today is the Marine Corps birthday. Happy birthday! 

Today is also the day the nation mourns those killed at Fort Hood, Texas. A nation grieves and shares in the loss. 

And tomorrow, Nov. 11, is Veterans Day. This would be a good week for a Maine motorist to purchase a “We Support Our Troops” plate, not to support the war, but to support the soldiers, seamen, airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen who serve.