May 26, 2013

Washington Notebook: Republicans keeping eye on Michaud

By Kevin Miller
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

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The U.S. Capitol in Washington.

The Associated Press


A Senate committee plans to begin working through a growing list of bills dealing with sexual assaults in the military when Congress returns from the Memorial Day recess.

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, as well as the top-ranking officers from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines, are all slated to appear before the Senate Armed Services Committee on June 4.

Last week, Maine Sen. Susan Collins held a news conference with three other Senate and House members to unveil a bill that would require a court-martial or dishonorable discharge for military personnel found guilty of rape or sexual assault.

The sweeping legislation would also eliminate the military's five-year statute of limitations on sexual assaults, allow commanders to transfer the alleged perpetrators while the case is adjudicated and eliminate commanders' ability to reduce or overturn convictions for major crimes.

"I want to get something done on this issue," Collins said, explaining her co-sponsorship of several different bills advocating different approaches to what she calls an "epidemic" in the military. "I want to make sure we have a lot of different ideas on the table."


Finally, in honor of Memorial Day, I thought it fitting to remember a few Mainers whose sacrifice became a rallying cry for action more than a century ago -- and who now lie in a special area of Arlington National Cemetery.

The USS Maine was not built in its namesake state, but several Maine natives were serving on the ship when it exploded and sank in the harbor of Havana, Cuba, on Feb. 15, 1898. The incident helped propel the U.S. into the Spanish-American War.

Nearly 230 of the 266 crew members who were killed are buried near the mast and the bell of their ship at the USS Maine Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery.

Two of the Mainers are identified on headstones: Millard F. Harris from Boothbay Harbor and William Tinsman from the East Deering section of Portland. It is likely that some of the others Mainers who died on the Maine -- Clarence Lowell of South Gardiner, Bernard Lynch of Portland and Frank Talbot of Bath -- are among the 167 crew members at Arlington whose identities were unknown at the time of burial.

Martin Webber of Bar Harbor and John Bloomer of East Deering were injured but survived the blast, according to records.

Washington Bureau Chief Kevin Miller can be contacted at (207) 317-6256 or at:

On Twitter: @KevinMillerDC


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