When I opened up my iPad version to the July 2 Press Herald, I was greeted by Bill Nemitz’s column with the misleading headline “Big relief: No Maine units in war zones.”
We’re all glad the 133rd is home, but just because the Army component of the Maine National Guard is back, it doesn’t mean that all Maine Guardsmen and Guardswomen are home.
Nemitz’s offhand acknowledgment of the Maine Air National Guard – “Even now, men and women from the Maine Air National Guard continue to rotate in and out of the Middle East on refueling missions and other assignments” – is totally misleading and an insult to them and those of us who wait for their safe return.
The Maine Air National Guard does more than fly and service aircraft. My grandson is with the Maine ANG’s 243rd Engineering Installation Squadron and is boots-on-the-ground in Afghanistan. His unit is doing the same kind of work that the 133nd was doing and in the same places in Afghanistan.
So the big question is: Why are the men and women of the Maine ANG’s 243rd Engineering Installation Squadron not worth acknowledgment as a Maine unit in a war zone?
My heart is in my mouth every day wondering what’s happening to my grandson. I can’t imagine how the hundreds of husbands, wives, sons, daughters, grandparents, friends and relatives of the Maine ANG’s 243rd Engineering Installation Squadron felt after reading Nemitz’s column. How does he think the men and women of Maine ANG’s 243rd Engineering Installation Squadron feel as they open their home state newspaper and find that their service is dismissed with a misleading, offhand comment?
The men and women of the Maine ANG’s 243rd Engineering Installation Squadron deserve better. Their families deserve better. They, above all, deserve a public and sincere apology.