Alaska Territorial Guard members
Maj. Gen. Thomas H. Katkus, adjutant general of the Alaska National Guard, and Verdie Bowen, director of the Alaska Office of Veterans Affairs, will present the Alaska Territorial Guard Service Medal and honorable discharge certificates on March 5th to Henry Neligan, Craig ATG unit; Ralph Devenny, Wrangell ATG unit; Victor Klose, Ketchikan ATG unit; and brothers John and Willard Reese, both with the Ketchikan ATG unit on March 5th. The event will take place from 11 a.m. – 12 p.m at Ketchikan Indian Community Meals and Wheels Center located at 615 Stedman Street.
Neligan is 100 years old and will celebrate his 101st birthday in May. He is the oldest living Alaska Territorial Guard veteran who will have received his honorable discharge certificate.
The Alaska Territorial Guard was formed during World War II all across the territory of Alaska to defend against foreign enemies. From 1942-1947, more than 6,400 Alaskans volunteered and answered the call to protect our land and nation. These brave men and women did not go through basic military training, but they still faithfully guarded their assigned territory with little equipment and no pay until the ATG was disbanded in 1947.
The late Sen. Ted Stevens, of Alaska, worked tirelessly to get the Alaska Territorial Guard the recognition and benefits they earned. In 2000, service in the Alaska Territorial Guard was given federal recognition as Public Law 106-259 and under Title 38 – Veterans Benefits in the U.S. Code. This allowed our ATG veterans to receive all benefits afforded those who served on active duty. ATG members now hold veteran status and can apply for U.S Army honorable discharges.
“Unfortunately, nearly 70 years has passed since the last ATG member has served,” Bowen said. “We have come a long way since October 2000 to ensure our nation honors every serving member of the ATG. We continue to work diligently to locate all living members and surviving families to ensure we honor each individual member. We will continue this plight until all are found.
“Furthermore, we are creating federal service records to be stored in our National Archives ensuring we bridge the gap between the generations, keeping alive the memory of all who served,” Bowen added.
For more information regarding the ATG or applying for discharge, contact the Office of Veterans Affairs at (907)334-0874 or toll free at (888)428-3682.
Who: Maj. Gen. Thomas H. Katkus, adjutant general of the Alaska National Guard, and Verdie Bowen, director of the Alaska Office of Veterans Affairs
What: Presenting ATG honorable discharge certificates and Alaska Territorial Guard Service Medals
Where: Ketchikan Indian Community Meals and Wheels Center, 615 Stedman Street, Ketchikan, Alaska
When: Tuesday, March 5, 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Edited by Mary Kauffman, SitNews
Source of News:
Alaska Department of Military & Veterans Affairs
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