Rural natives gain opportunity to join traditional
Alaska Army National Guard Scout units
May 19, 2004
"In effect, what the Army has done is to re-open up the door of opportunity that they shut several years ago, when they decided to disallow our recruiting waiver for Scouts in our Alaska Army National Guard," said Murkowski.
"That meant that there was very little, if any, chance that a young native man or women in Alaska could follow the same trail that his or her parents or grandparents did in becoming a member of the Alaska National Guard Scouts. That is a very trusted and proud tradition dating back to the dark days of World War II," he added.
More than a year ago, shortly after taking office, Murkowski directed Major General Craig E. Campbell, the Adjutant General, to petition the National Guard Bureau and the Department of the Army to renew or re-issue the Scout recruitment waiver that had existed for decades.
The waiver only applies to native Alaskans who are eligible to become members of the three Scout Battalions. Each unit is authorized approximately 315 soldiers. The 1st Scout Battalion is headquartered in Nome; 2nd Scout Battalion is headquartered in Bethel, and; and 3rd Scout Battalion is headquartered in Juneau. The three units are the backbone of the Alaska Army National Guard's 207th Infantry Group (Scout) headquartered in Anchorage.
"The impact of the Scouts is tremendous," Murkowski said. "Just this past weekend, we called up a Company from the First Scout Battalion, headquartered out of Nome, to help with the security mission of the Missile Defense Program at Fort Greely. This is absolutely one of the very most important missions that the Scouts have had since the end of the Cold War, and in some ways, dating back to their origins (in World War II). These young men and women provide a vital service to our state and our nation."
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