Enrolled SJR 5: Urging the United States Department of Defense to continue to provide retirement benefits for members of the Alaska Territorial Guard who served during World War II.
00Enrolled SJR 5 01 Urging the United States Department of Defense to continue to provide retirement benefits for 02 members of the Alaska Territorial Guard who served during World War II. 03 _______________ 04 BE IT RESOLVED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA: 05 WHEREAS, in 1942, the Alaska Territorial Guard was formed by Territorial 06 Governor Ernest Gruening in response to Japanese activity around Alaska; and 07 WHEREAS, during World War II, approximately 6,389 members of the Alaska 08 Territorial Guard served without compensation in the state while the Alaska National Guard 09 was deployed; and 10 WHEREAS the Alaska Territorial Guard engaged in combat with the enemy, 11 protected the lend-lease route that stretched from North America to the Soviet Union, and 12 rescued downed airmen; and 13 WHEREAS, in 2000, because of the efforts of Alaska's U.S. Senator, Ted Stevens, 14 the United States Congress passed legislation that required that service as a member of the 15 Alaska Territorial Guard during World War II of an individual who was honorably discharged 16 be considered active duty for purposes of all laws administered by the United States Secretary 17 of Defense; and
01 WHEREAS sec. 8147 of the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2001 (P.L. 02 106-259, 38 U.S.C. 106) requires the United States Secretary of Defense to issue certificates 03 of honorable discharge to members of the Alaska Territorial Guard based on the nature and 04 duration of each individual's World War II service; and 05 WHEREAS Alaska Territorial Guard members who have been honorably discharged 06 are considered to be on active duty for the purposes of all laws administered by the United 07 States Secretary of Veterans Affairs, including laws relating to veterans' benefits; and 08 WHEREAS approximately 25 Alaska Native elders who served in the Alaska 09 Territorial Guard are still receiving benefits; and 10 WHEREAS the recent decision of the United States Department of Defense to reverse 11 the determination that service in the Alaska Territorial Guard during World War II be 12 regarded as active duty for military retirement purposes is of grave concern because it will 13 leave approximately 25 Alaska Native elders who live in the most remote parts of Alaska 14 without critical funds to pay the costs, among the highest in the nation, of heating fuel and 15 food during an already tough Alaska winter; 16 BE IT RESOLVED that the Alaska State Legislature respectfully requests the United 17 States Department of Defense to honor the service provided by the Alaska Territorial Guard 18 by continuing retirement benefits for members of the Alaska Territorial Guard; and be it 19 FURTHER RESOLVED that the Alaska State Legislature thanks the Alaska 20 Congressional delegation for its swift action on behalf of the remaining elderly members of 21 the Alaska Territorial Guard by their introduction of S. 342 and H.R. 744, which provide for 22 the treatment of service as a member of the Alaska Territorial Guard during World War II as 23 active service for purposes of retired pay for members of the United States armed forces; and 24 be it 25 FURTHER RESOLVED that the Alaska State Legislature respectfully requests that 26 the United States Department of Defense continue to use its emergency and extraordinary 27 expense funds to provide retirement benefits for the Alaska Territorial Guard members until 28 the United States Congress passes S. 342 or H.R. 744, or the United States Department of 29 Defense reverses its January 2009 decision. 30 COPIES of this resolution shall be sent to the Honorable Barack Obama, President of 31 the United States; the Honorable Eric K. Shinseki, United States Secretary of Veterans
01 Affairs; the Honorable Pete Geren, United States Secretary of the Army; and the Honorable 02 Lisa Murkowski and the Honorable Mark Begich, U.S. Senators, and the Honorable Don 03 Young, U.S. Representative, members of the Alaska delegation in Congress.