Shock and sadness overspread Camp Keyes in Augusta this week with the unexpected passing of longtime Maine Army National Guard leader, Lt. Col. Michael J. Backus of Wilton. Backus died unexpectedly on Monday while performing duties at Camp Keyes. According to the Lewiston Sun-Journal, Major Michael Steinbuchel, spokesman for the Maine Army National Guard, said "the cause of the death is still under investigation."

Backus, 44, is survived by his wife and three sons. He had graduated from Mount Blue High School in 1986 and from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1990. He later attended flight school and served as an Apache helicopter pilot. He flew medevac helicopters with the 112th Medical Company in 2003 while the unit was deployed to Iraq.