WHEREAS, the service of the Alaska Territorial Guard (ATG) in the protection of Alaska during World War II represents service above self that is a hallmark of the Alaskan spirit; and
WHEREAS, following the assault on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941, Alaska Territorial Governor and statesman, Ernest Gruening, developed the foundation for the ATG, which subsequently 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 bravery and dedication by serving and protecting Alaska during World War II; and
WHEREAS, these courageous volunteers sacrificed their time and effort to patrol and protect approximately 5,200 miles of rough Alaskan coastline. Over time, as many as 15,000 Alaskans participated and supported the ATG; and
WHEREAS, without pay or official provisions, these volunteers nonetheless continued to serve as soldiers from 1941 to 1947, and exhibited incredible devotion to their country and families, and embodied 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 long deserved, but also the benefits and resources they were overdue; and
WHEREAS, by Alaska State Statute, October 18th of each year is designated for honoring the valiant 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, 2023 as:
Alaska Territorial Guard Day
in Alaska, and encourage all Alaskans to educate themselves on the vital role the Alaska Territorial Guard members and their families played in our State’s rich history.
Dated: October 18, 2023