The Maine Army National Guard’s current Operations Branch Chief has died. Lieutenant Colonel Michael Backus died unexpectedly Monday while performing his duties at Camp Keyes in Augusta. According to the Maine Army National Guard, the cause of his death is under investigation. Backus was a graduate of Mt. Blue High School and the United States Military Academy at West Point. He joined the Maine Army National Guard in 2001. Backus deployed to Kuwait in 2003 as a member of the 112th Medical Company. According to the Maine Army National Guard, Backus helped establish the National Guard Bureau State Partnership Program in Maine, beginning the state’s ongoing relationship with the country of Montenegro. “We are shocked and saddened by the unexpected loss of Lt. Col. Backus. Mike was a longstanding career officer who served professionally in a number of key assignments and served the country and state well. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family during this difficult time,” said Brigadier General James D. Campbell, adjutant general of the Maine National Guard. Funeral plans for Backus have not yet been released.