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Keep Alaska's Merchant Marine In A State of Readiness
by Captain Jan W. Sande


May 03, 2004

Dear Editor,

"Inspectors review Eilson Air Force Base readiness" read the headlines in the Ketchikan Daily News on April 30, 2004. Eilson Air Force Base is near Fairbanks, Anchorage has two military bases in its proximity.

Anchorage is in a unique setting as all roads go to Anchorage, including the Alaska Marine Highway. Studies have been made over the years where the same conclusions are always reached. Eighty five-ninety percent of AMHS traffic has a destination of Anchorage. The present freeway system we enjoy in America was set into motion by then President Eisenhower for one purpose (to ensure fast mobility of our troops in time of war.) Alaska has such a freeway; AMHS is this freeway, which leads directly to our military bases and Anchorage. Previous administration has attempted to, and partial succeeded in destroying this freeway system, with the consent of the Alaskan Legislators'.

AMHS can also be called by another name. AMHS is Alaska's merchant marine. When America is at war, (we have been in many throughout our history) the merchant marine becomes an arm of the military, a very important one I must add as this is how munitions and supplies reach our troops.

America is at war whether American people realize this or not. It is not an if but a when, when further conflict erupts. I am asking this question of all Alaskan Legislative representatives throughout the state as well as their constituents. Why is Alaska not keeping our Merchant Marine in a state of readiness in these perilous times? By being in a state of readiness also means being crewed by qualified officers and unlicensed personnel. As is scheduled, the MV Taku will be taken off the run thus reducing Anchorage's freeway leg from Prince Rupert by fifty percent. The Taku will be kept in readiness, which is excellent, but when time is essential finding qualified officers is difficult, they do not grow on trees. If the ship was in commission maintaining its' position of anchorage's Prince Rupert leg of the freeway then the qualified officers and crew would also be there.

My final statement: Keep Anchorage's freeway and Alaska's Merchant Marine intact and in a state of readiness.

Retired Captain Jan W. Sande
Ketchikan, AK - USA



Original News Story:

Eielson under inspection...
Fairbanks News-Miner - Thursday - April 29, 2004



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