16 veterans of the Alaska Territorial Guard (ATG) will be honored at a discharge ceremony today, and a quarter of them are from Western Alaska.
Governor Bill Walker and Brigadier General Laurie Hummel (from the Alaska National Guard and the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs) will present honorable discharge documents and service medals to the surviving family members of the selected military servicemen.
The 16 Alaska Territorial Guardsmen who will be recognized at the Alaska Native Heritage Center in Anchorage include Private Frederick A. Asicksik from Shaktoolik; Private Ole O. Bahr, Jr., from Nome; Private Nick Beans from Mountain Village; and Steve Otten from St. Michael.
The ATG was a division of the U.S. Army created in response to the Pearl Harbor attacks. Many Alaskans volunteered to serve in the Territorial Guard as a way to defend Alaska during World War II. APRN reports that nearly 2,600 discharge papers have been issued since 2004 to Alaska Territorial Guard veterans as militia members or relatives are found or apply for them.
According to a release from the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, an Alaska Territorial Guard task force is working to make this ceremony an annual event.