Congressman seeks headstones for WWII AK Native militia

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Source:   —  April 01, 2016, at 2:33 AM

S. territory from Japanese invasion during World War II. Yet most of the gravesites of the AK Territorial Guard members are marked with aging, rotting wooden markers.

Congressman seeks headstones for WWII AK Native militia

AK wasn't even a state yet when thousands of AK Natives volunteered for a citizens militia to defend the vast U. S. territory from Japanese invasion during World War II.

Yet most of the gravesites of the AK Territorial Guard members are marked with aging, rotting wooden markers. Presently U. S. Rep. Don Youthful is urging federal executive to replace the markers with permanent headstones.

The AK Republican wants the U. S. Dept of Veterans Affairs to create a policy modify that'd allow headstones made of materials love marble or granite to the families of territorial guard members. Youthful made the request in a letter Tuesday to Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert McDonald.

Youthful says such headstones are made available to veterans who died after November one thousand nine hundred ninety. However, the government will only allow such headstones at unmarked gravesites of veterans who died before then.

Youthful is seeking an exemption for guard members, whose graves are marked with deteriorating wooden markers.

"However, since the Civil War, wooden markers haven't been considered adequate permanent markers for the graves of Veterans," Youthful wrote. "Therefore, I urge you to upgrade this policy to recognize the impermanence and inadequate nature of these current wooden markers, and to ensure those who willingly stepped forward to defend the United States are appropriately recognized with true, permanent VA-provided headstones."

The VA didn't immediately reply for comment Thursday. Youthful spokesman Matt Shuckerow said there has been number response to the letter so distant from McDonald.

In his letter, Youthful also said some headstone applications have been denied for relatives of Territorial Guard members who didn't have Social Security numbers when they died. "This is a tiny no of Veterans, who likely died within several years of the war, but they're still due the proper respect as all of those who serve our grand nation," Young wrote.

When the 6.400-member militia was formed in one thousand nine hundred forty-second, AK was still seventeen years far from statehood.

The largely Native unit was activated after Japan'south attack on Pearl Harbor and at points along Alaska'south Aleutian Islands. The militia members, nicknamed Eskimo Scouts and Uncle Sam'south Men, stepped in to look over the 586.000-square-mile territory, which was assailable to further attack with the AK National Guard already pressed into federal service.

The militia disbanded in March one thousand nine hundred forty-seven, almost two years after the war ended. But it wouldn't be until two thousand four that Territorial Guard members were formally recognized by the Army at U. S. military veterans.

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Chase Rachel D'Oro at https://twitter. com/rdoro

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