"An Act relating to Alaska Territorial Guard Day. "
"This bill is dedicated to the memory of those who served so bravely for our great state."
- Sen. Huggins
Senate Bill 90 would declare October 18 as Alaska Territorial Guard Day.
December 7, 1941, Japanese forces bombed Pearl Harbor in a surprise attack on the United States Navy. Around six months later, the Japanese seized the islands of Attu and Kiska and bombed Dutch Harbor killing forty-three Americans. Soon after, Governor Ernest Gruening was assigned two military aides to assist him in forming the Alaska Territorial Guard in order to protect and defend the US Territory that was Alaska. The first, Captain Carl Schneibner, was responsible for organizing the Guard in the Interior. The second, Major Marvin "Muktuk" Marston, was responsible for organizing the Guard on the Bering and Arctic Coasts. These two men went to their recruiting areas with a message from the President of the United States and the Governor of Alaska, asking for help in defending the Alaska Territory. Their combined efforts resulted in a total number of about 6,500 predominately Alaskan Native men signing up to defend their Territory, Country and the general good of all mankind. Dressed in WWI uniforms and shouldering Enfield rifles, the Alaska Territorial Guard succeeded in defending Alaska until its disbandment in the month of March 1947. After the disbandment, Gov. Gruening included members into the regular Alaska National Guard as scout battalions.
Until the year of 2004, these valiant volunteers had not been recognized as veterans. On October 18, the first members of the Alaska Territorial Guard were recognized by the United States Army as Veterans. This bill is dedicated to the memory of those who served so bravely for our great state.