Brig. Gen. Gerard Bolduc, the new leader of the Maine National Guard, spent Wednesday in Arlington, Virginia, meeting with National Guard Bureau officials about potential changes to the makeup of Maine’s guard units.

In an email late Wednesday, Bolduc said he felt it was important to meet face-to-face with national officials in the wake of the sudden firing late last month of his predecessor, James Campbell.

At stake is the future of the Maine National Guard, which Campbell had been trying to shift toward infantry and away from engineers.

“We presented our courses of action and they presented theirs,” Bolduc wrote Wednesday, without providing specifics of his plan. “While no decisions are definitive at this time, we discussed the fluid environment of the National Guard, as well as the (guard bureau’s) desire to work with Maine on its plan moving forward.”

Campbell, appointed by Gov. Paul LePage in August 2012, had been seeking to swap the 133rd Engineer Battalion for an out-of-state infantry unit in the fall of 2013. He was fired after LePage reviewed emails that showed Campbell’s private statements about why he was initiating the swap didn’t match what he was saying publicly.

LePage reviewed the emails only after the Portland Press Herald submitted a federal Freedom of Information request.

Bolduc, who was appointed interim adjutant general on March 24, the day Campbell was fired, is responsible for trying to keep the 133rd and other units from leaving Maine, and with rebuilding morale.

Some decisions, though, may ultimately be out of his hands.

Campbell’s plan to transition some units had already received preliminary approval, according to federal officials.

Under that plan, Maine would create the 1st Battalion, 103rd Infantry Regiment, which would be made up of the 488th Military Police Company in Waterville, Bravo Company, the 172nd Mountain Infantry unit based in Brewer, and four companies of 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.

Maine would lose three smaller units under the plan – a contract team, a public affairs department and a survey and design team.

Bolduc and LePage have said they will do everything they can to save as many Maine guard jobs as possible and ensure that the storied 133rd Engineer Battalion stays put.

“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,” Bolduc wrote Wednesday. “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 fulfill the duties asked of them.”

Staff Writer Eric Russell can be contacted at 791-6344 or:

[email protected]

Twitter: @PPHEricRussell

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