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Army throws native WWII vets under the bus

There are only 26 surviving members of the Alaska Territorial Guard, a unit composed of mostly Native militiamen which was established to guard the territory of Alaska from the threat of Japanese attack during World War II. The militia was deemed necessary because Japan had made incursions into the Aleutians and occupied some of the islands in 1942.

Now the Army, in its bureaucratic wisdom, has decided to cut off retirement pay for these patriots, most of them now in their eighties. They stand to lose as much as $557 in monthly retirement pay at the end of this month. Another 37 of the militiamen have had their applications for retirement pay suspended.

At Libertarian Republican, Eric says the Pentagon’s decision could be “a first sign that the incoming Obama administration may be planning retribution for the State of Alaska.”

According to an Anchorage Daily News report:

Gov. Sarah Palin said the state is pursuing a remedy for “these brave Alaskans, who did so much for the cause of freedom during a time of great national peril.”

The Associated Press picked up the story, and added that Alaska’s two U.S. Senators, Lisa Murkowski and Mark Begich, are preparing legislation defining service in the territorial guard as active duty for calculating retirement pay:

Murkowski said Alaska’s congressional delegation has sent a letter to President Barack Obama, asking him to intervene so that those affected by “this tragic, tragic series of events do not lose the safety net.”

All of those who are standing up for Alaska’s native vets are to be commended. And shame on the the Army, whether the Oministration was involved or not, for its shabby treatment of these American patriots of native ancestry.

- JP

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