Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Trying to cheat ATG vets

UPDATE: The U.S. Senate passed a new military appropriations bill including a provision that will allow ATG service to be counted towards the 20 year total federal military service pension requirements. Of the 600 former ATG soldiers still alive, only 26 were eligible. The 26 had enough regular military and reserve time for their ATG time to count towards the 20 years.

The Obama Administration is now showing the liberal contempt for those who served.
In WWII, Alaska was the only U.S. territory occupied by a foreign power.

In the early days of the war, a group of volunteers were organized into the Alaska Territorial Guard (ATG) to patrol, protect and serve Alaska. The ATG comprised 6,600 men from 1942 to 1947, the year it was disbanded. The ATG patch is still worn today by the Alaska State Defense Force.

Alaska at the time was a territory, not a State. A distinction seemingly not understood by the Obama Administration.

Under COL Muktuk Marston, these men patrolled Alaska's coasts, broke trails, and did construction work for the U.S. war effort, and served to protect Alaska.

The pension issue arrises over the recognition by the federal goverment that the time served in the ATG counts as military time towards one's 20 year service requirement to collect a pension. For the remaining 26 men, now 25, as one died while this was being prepared, this recognition was bittersweet victory after so many years of not being recognized.

The DOD agreed that these men would receive military pensions starting this year, with the State of Alaska picking up the initial few months until the federal payments began. The Palin Administration went to bat for these veterans and achieved recognition by DOD for their service. Unfortunately, Pres. Obama's Administration reversed its decision and renegged on the earlier decision.

Like the Statehood Compact, ANILCA, and so many other examples of the federal government going back on its word or simply ignoring its promises to Alaskans, once again, Alaskans get the short end of the stick.

Those on active duty with the United States military need to pay heed to what happened to Alaska's ATG veterans.

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