Maine National Guard unit told to stand down

Posted Dec. 17, 2009, at 11:28 a.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — A Maine National Guard unit that has been preparing to deploy to Iraq has been told to stand down. More than 500 soldiers from the 133rd Engineer Battalion won’t be deployed after all.

Maj. Gen. John W. Libby, adjutant general of the Maine National Guard, made the formal announcement on Thursday.

The unit was considered for deployment in Afghanistan, but the Pentagon decided there were already sufficient combat troops for the mission. Instead, the 133rd will be staying home instead of deploying in March.

Capt. Shanon Cotta, spokesman for the Maine National Guard, said the decision reduces the number of Maine-based Guard personnel going to Iraq and Afghanistan in the near year from 800 to about 310.