AK Governor Sarah Palin Signs Legislation Continuing ATG Retirement Benefits


Following is the entire release from Governor Palin regarding her signing Senate Bill 89, which temporarily restores retirement benefits to members of the Alaska Territorial Guard:

[Alaska] Governor Sarah Palin today signed legislation that continues retirement benefits for members of the Alaska Territorial Guard (ATG). The ATG was a military reserve force component of the U.S. Army, organized in 1942 in response to attacks on American soil in Hawaii and Alaska by Japan during World War II (ATG, 2009, ¶1).

Senate Bill 89, sponsored by the Senate Finance Committee, provides temporary retirement benefits to 26 surviving veterans for their service in the ATG. The Department of Defense decided in January to discontinue retirement benefits to ATG members, but temporarily suspended its decision at the urging of Governor Palin and Alaska’s congressional delegation. The Department of Defense agreed to extend payments until April to give Congress time to devise a permanent solution through amendments to the law. Congress has not yet acted, so until it does the state will fund the payments, which total about $10,000 per month (ATG, 2009, ¶2).

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin signed Senate Bill 89 which continues retirement benefits for members of the Alaska Territorial Guard (ATG) while visiting Haines, Alaska on April 29, 2009.

“It is a great honor to sign this bill into law today,” Governor Palin said. “These Territorial Guard veterans are bona fide Alaskan heroes, cut from the same cloth as the Minutemen who answered the call to defend Lexington and Concord. They have earned every cent of their retirement benefits, as well as our enduring gratitude for their service” (ATG, 2009, ¶3).

The [G]overnor was joined by members of the American Legion as she signed SB 89 at Lookout Park in Haines (ATG, 2009, ¶4).

The bill signing was part of a road trip Governor Palin took to Haines and her childhood home of Skagway. “It was a true pleasure to visit some of the most beautiful communities in Alaska,” Governor Palin said. “I appreciate the warm welcome and hospitality that I received from the local residents” (Visit, 2009, ¶2).

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin signs the arm of one student at the John C. Haines Elementary School during a visit on April 29, 2009.

“Haines Mayor Jan Hill and Southeast Conference Energy Coordinator Robert Venables escorted the governor on a city tour and discussed community projects” (Visit, 2009, ¶3). She toured the town’s new school and met with students (Visit, 2009, ¶5).

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin takes a tour of the John C. Haines Elementary School with Haines Borough School Superintendent Michael Byer on April 29, 2009.

Thence, Governor Palin went to Skagway, where she “met with Mayor Tom Cochran and council member Mike Korsmo to discuss local community issues including several infrastructure projects” (Visit, 2009, ¶6).


Complete background on the ATG retirement benefits story can be found in the March 25, 2009 entry and the February 2, 2009 entry.

This is one of the few bills that the Alaska State Legislature worked on this session and in fairness to them, they introduced it; however, Governor Palin had been fighting and advocating for these veterans’ retirement benefits for the past four months. Further, because she is the executive who signed (executed) the bill, it’s her accomplishment.

The federal government let the benefits lapse starting in April 2009. The State of Alaska is funding the benefits which proves that “if you want to do something right, you do it yourself.”

The number of retirees affected by this is but 26. It would have been all too easy to cast them aside. But Governor Palin would never turn her back on even one person who served our country. She — and the legislature — to use a NYC Fire Department term: stood up and did the right thing


Notice the model Hummer on the desk where she is executing the retirement benefits bill. That’s a replica of the real vehicle, which is a rolling war memorial which visited Juneau on April 27, 2009 (Fallen Marines, 2009, ¶1).

(from left) Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, John Orr and Haines Mayor Janice Hill stand before a special presentation in front of the Capitol Building in Juneau of a Hummer detailed to honor our fallen Marines.

The custom-painted H3 Hummer was commissioned by the mother of Marine Lance Corporal John Martin Holmanson, who was killed in action in Iraq, along with nine others, in December 2005. The artwork on the vehicle features images of the Marines, the Marine seal and an American flag (Hummer, 2009, ¶2).

“What a privilege to be able to honor fallen American heroes in this manner,” Governor Palin said. “The rolling memorial is a humbling reminder – to us all – of those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our freedom” (Hummer, 2009, ¶3).

Governor Palin ia a most honorable Commander in Chief for her state and our service people will be hard-pressed to find a better friend or advocate for them. Her command experience has been documented on this blog numerous times. This YouTube video below, provides a sound refresher on Governor Palin’s command experience and why she is ready to exercise her knowledge at the largest scale of all….


Governor pays tribute to fallen Marines. (2009, April 27). State of Alaska, Governor. Retrieved April 30, 2009 from: http://www.gov.state.ak.us/news.php?id=1789.

Governor Palin signs ATG benefits bill. (2009, April 29). State of Alaska, Governor. Retrieved April 30, 2009 from: http://www.gov.state.ak.us/news.php?id=1797.

Governor visits Haines and Skagway. (2009, April 29). State of Alaska, Governor. Retrieved April 30, 2009 from: http://www.gov.state.ak.us/news.php?id=1798.

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