A change of guard took place in the Maine Forest Service today, as the state's top Forest Ranger, Chief of Maine Forest Service, Colonel William A. Hamilton, signed off for the final time. Hamilton is a highly decorated Ranger with 42 years of experience on the job.

The Maine Forest Rangers act as the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry's guardians, as they enforce laws and protect our natural resources and respond to natural disasters, like wildfires.

According to the Maine Forest Rangers Facebook Page, Hamilton's last decade of service alone has played an essential role in beefing up training and readiness of Forest Rangers across the state.

"Our agency has experienced unprecedented enhancements in our Rangers’ training and in our mission capabilities. We are eternally grateful for your friendship, for your leadership, and for your dedicated service to our forest service family and to the people of the Great State of Maine...And thank you, sir, for your undeniable role in making sure that we are always MISSION READY."

According to the Pen Bay Pilot, Hamilton started with the Maine Forest Service in 1979 and worked his way up through the ranks and throughout the state.

"A year later, he accepted a Forest Ranger position in Princeton, Maine, and covered Grand Lake Stream to the St Croix River. After that, Bill held Ranger positions in Lee and Millinocket. He was promoted in 1990 and served in District Ranger positions in Jonesboro and Lee. In 2009, he moved to the Regional Ranger position in Old Town, covering Jackman to Jonesboro."

He ended up based out of Augusta when he took the job as Ranger Chief in 2012, where he has finished out his career.

According to the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, Regional Forest Ranger Robby Gross will take over as Ranger Chief as Hamilton retires.

Watch Colonel William A. Hamilton say his final goodbye here.

Thank you for your service, Sir.

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