The Alaska Territorial Guard consisted of 6,600 men and women who were the “eyes and ears for the Army” prior to and during World War II, when Alaska was still a territory and not yet a state (ATG Letter, 2009, p. 1). They were “mostly Alaska Indians, Eskimos, and Aleuts, [who] responded to that call. Instead of hunting, trapping and fishing, they patrolled rural Alaska … for more than five years without pay and benefits” (ATG Letter, 2009, p. 1). In 2004, Congress ruled that ATG service was equivalent to military service (ATG Letter, 2009, p. 1).
“While most died waiting for their recognition, some have survived to receive their honorable discharge from the United States Army. Now they are being told, again, that their ATG service is not worthy of federal recognition, and that is not right. These people are our heroes” (ATG Letter, 2009, p. 1).
The Federal government was going to strip ATG members of their retirement benefits. Alaska Governor Sarah Palin wrote a letter to Obama and a number of others, to include Pete Geren, Secretary of the Army on January 27, 2009, excerpts of which have been quoted above.
On January 28, 2009, Sarah announced Secretary Geren reinstated the retirement benefits (Palin Pleased, 2009, Â¶1), who are in their late 80s and early 90s (Palin Pleased, 2009, Â¶5). Congressional action is required to make the reinstatement permanent (Palin Pleased, 2009, Â¶1).
Governor Palin’s command experience is clearly on display here. Not only did she advocate for having these retirement benefits reinstated for unsung heroes, but she got the matter addressed within 24 hours, a clear indication of her effectiveness as a leader.
Palin pleased with payments to veteran. (2009, January 28). State of Alaska, Governor. Retrieved January 31, 2009 from: http://www.gov.state.ak.us/news.php?id=1616
Palin, S.L.H. (2009, January 27). Letter to Obama regarding retirement benefits to Alaska Territorial Guard veterans. Retrieved January 31, 2009 from: http://gov.state.ak.us/pdf/GovernorJan29-PresObama.pdf