November 19, 2013

Recognizing the Alaska Territorial Guard 1942-1947

During World War II, while Alaska was still a federal territory, thousands of Alaskan residents volunteered to patrol and protect the nation under the moniker of the Alaska Territorial Guard. This army reserve unit consisted of Native and non-Native men, women, and children from throughout the region who came together after the Japanese bombings in Hawaii and the Aleutians. I believe I have a 5th cousin who served in the Guard. The map below depicts the geographic distribution of service members. 

File:Alaska Territorial Guard map.jpg
The Guard worked various duties, including protecting villages and towns, safe guarding strategic air and water ways. Using weaponry from World War 1, they placed themselves in harms way for the well being and safety of the nation without pay.
"Hill and Eskimo machine gunner - St. Paul, June 1943." Collection Name Evan Hill Photograph Collection. ASL-P343-411 
One will notice in the image above depicts a young man sitting behind the gun without identifying him by name. This anonymity among the Guard's service members has been widespread due to poor record keeping, but in 2000 those who served became eligible for veterans benefits and a movement to document and honor them was a foot. Here is a link to the government site with lists of the people who served on the Guard and are eligible for federal acknowledgement and veterans benefits.

The video above captures a 2008 event recognizing the Alaska Territorial Guard in Anchorage.

This is a touching video about the elders, and/or their survivors, at Point Hope, Alaska being honored for their service.

Here is a 2012 article about a park in Bethel Alaska being dedicated to these incredible people:
The link below depicts Alaska Senator Murkowski fighting for Alaska Territorial Guard retirement pay in 2009:

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