WHEREAS, following the attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941, Alaska Territorial Governor and statesman, Ernest Gruening, laid the foundation for the Alaska Territorial Guard (ATG), which later became the first line of defense if an attack on Alaska were to occur; and
WHEREAS, initially the ATG, was comprised of over 6,000 volunteers, the majority of them Alaska Native, who demonstrated their profound dedication by serving and protecting Alaska during World War II; and
WHEREAS, these courageous volunteers sacrificed their time to patrol and protect approximately 5,200 miles of rough Alaskan coastline. In addition, as many as 15,000 Alaskans participated and supported the ATG; and
WHEREAS, without pay or official provisions, these volunteers continued to serve as soldiers from 1941 to 1947, and represented incredible allegiance to their country and families, and demonstrated the essence of the spirit of the Last Frontier; and
WHEREAS, Alaska Senator Ted Stevens introduced legislation in 2000 in an effort to formally recognize and distinguish the service of ATG volunteers as active federal service, and thereby qualify them for benefits from the Veterans Administration; and
WHEREAS, Senator Ted Stevens’ legislation was passed, and the brave volunteers not only received the recognition they deserved but also the benefits they were overdue; and
WHEREAS, by Alaska State Statute, October 18 of each year is designated for honoring the noble service and sacrifice of Alaska Territorial Guard members in defense of Alaska and the United States during World War II.
NOW THEREFORE, I, Mike Dunleavy, GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF ALASKA, do hereby proclaim October 18, 2020 as:
Alaska Territorial Guard Day
in Alaska, and encourage all Alaskans to educate themselves on the important role the Alaska Territorial Guard members and their families provided in our State’s history.