The following is a little background on the ATG and the services that they provided to the United States of America during World War II. Our goal is to be able to honor all of the ATG members that have passed both recently as well as in the past. They were soldiers as much as any other but it took until 2000 for them to be recognized by Congress. Help us spread the word about these patriotic Americans and spread the word to the villages that we are here to honor those that have passed.
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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Alaska Territorial Guard (ATG) or Eskimo Scouts was a military reserve force component of the US Army, organized in 1942 in response to attacks on American soil in Hawaii and occupation of parts of Alaska by Japan during World War II. The ATG operated until 1947. 6,368 volunteers who served without pay were enrolled from 107 communities throughout Alaska in addition to a paid staff of 21, according to an official roster. The ATG brought together for the first time into a joint effort members of these ethnic groups: Aleut, Athabaskan, White, Inupiaq, Haida, Tlingit, Tsimshian, Yupik, and most likely others. In later years, all members of some native units scored expert sharpshooter rankings. Among the 27 or more women members were at least one whose rifleryskills exceeded the men. The ages of members at enrollment ranged from 80 years old to as young as twelve (both extremes occurring mostly in sparsely populated areas). As volunteers the Alaska Territorial Guard members were those that were too young or too old to be drafted during WWII.
One first-hand estimate states that around 20,000 Alaskans participated, officially or otherwise, in ATG reconnaissance or support activities.
The ATG served many vital strategic purposes to the entire Allied effort during World War II:
- They safeguarded the only source of the strategic metal platinum in the Western Hemisphere against Japanese attack.
- They secured the terrain around the vital Lend-Lease air route between the United States and Russia.
- they placed and maintained survival caches primarily along transportation cooridors and coastal regions.
In addition to official duties, ATG members are noted for actively and successfully promoting racial integration within US military forces, and racial equality within the communities they protected.
Several former members of the ATG were instrumental in achieving Alaska Statehood in 1959, as members of the Alaska Statehood Committee and/or delegates to the Alaska Constitutional Convention.
In 2000 all ATG members were granted US veteran status by law, acknowledging the contribution of the ATG, some of whose members are still living. But efforts to find the surviving ATG members and assist them through the application process are difficult due to lack of written records, oral cultures, lack of trained staff, passage of time, and unclear bureaucracies and advocates.
Nevertheless, active correction of the historical record is proceeding through the Alaska Army National Guard, office of Cultural Resources Management and Tribal Liaison (888 248-3682 toll-free) as well as the Office of Veterans Affairs, State of Alaska, PO Box 5800, Ft. Richardson, AK 99505-5800, 907.428.6016 (Office)