AUGUSTA — The head of the Maine National Guard announced Wednesday he is stepping down after eight years at the helm.

Maj. Gen. John “Bill” Libby, 68, submitted his resignation effective March 16, according to Gov. Paul LePage’s office.

Libby is adjutant general of the Maine National Guard and commissioner of the state Department of Defense, Veterans and Emergency Management, which oversees the National Guard, veterans affairs and disaster response functions.

No reason was given for Libby’s resignation, but the announcement came six days after he postponed his scheduled address to a joint session of the Legislature so he could deal with an undisclosed family emergency.

“It has been my greatest privilege and honor to lead the Maine National Guard,” Libby said in a statement. “Over the past decade, the Middle East and Afghanistan continues to test our Maine men and women in uniform and their families. As I tell our WWII veterans, they are the greatest generation, but this nation is currently being served by another great generation who are 100 percent volunteer for the first time in our modern history and have fought with distinction in two simultaneous wars.”

Libby began his military career upon commissioning from the ROTC program at the University of Maine in 1966. He held a number of command and staff positions in Vietnam and Germany before joining the Maine Army National Guard in 1975.

As adjutant general, he has overseen the mobilization of nearly 4,000 members of the Maine guard overseas to the Middle East. LePage has credited him with overseeing an aggressive program to recognize the contribution of Maine’s veterans.

LePage said he accepted Libby’s resignation with regret.

“It is not something I wanted to do because the state of Maine is better for his service,” LePage said in a statement. “He put Maine before himself when I asked him to stay on at the end of the last administration.”

LePage’s office expects to announce an acting commissioner in the coming weeks and have a nomination for a permanent replacement ready for the Legislature’s summer session.

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