Tinkham, Former Leader Of Maine National Guard, Dies At 73

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Retired Maj. Gen. Joseph E. Tinkham II,former leader of the Maine National Guard, has died after a years-long battle with cancer, the national guard announced. He was 73.

Tinkham served more than 37 years in the U.S. Army and Maine National Guard, and ended his career as state adjutant general and commissioner of the Department of Defense, Veterans and Emergency Management under Govs. Angus King and John Baldacci.

There will be a graveside service on Thursday at the Maine Veteran’s Cemetery after family and retirees gather at Camp Chamberlain.

Tinkham, who died Friday at the Maine VA Medical Center, began his service in 1966 and was an artillery officer in West Germany and Vietnam. He retired from the Army as captain before joining the Maine National Guard.

“Thank you, sir, for your steady leadership and devoted service to your state and country,” the Maine National Guard said.

Tinkham, of South Gardiner, was on duty at the time of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, a time when troops were deployed to airports and other sites.

King, now a U.S. senator, described Tinkham as an able leader who served with distinction and “was by my side on 9/11” and its aftermath. “Joe served Maine well, and we’ll miss him," he said.

Tinkham's son, Blair, is carrying on his dad's tradition as the Army chief of staff in the Maine National Guard, said Maj. Gen. Douglas Farnham, the state's current adjutant general.