Governor Signs Alaska Territorial Guard Bill
Governor Sarah Palin today signed legislation that continues retirement benefits for members of the Alaska Territorial Guard (ATG). The ATG was a military reserve force component of the U.S. Army, organized in 1942 in response to attacks on American soil in Hawaii and Alaska by Japan during World War II.
Senate Bill 89, sponsored by the Senate Finance Committee, provides temporary retirement benefits to 26 surviving veterans for their service in the ATG. The Department of Defense decided in January to discontinue retirement benefits to ATG members, but temporarily suspended its decision at the urging of Governor Palin and Alaska's congressional delegation. The Department of Defense agreed to extend payments until April to give Congress time to devise a permanent solution through amendments to the law. Congress has not yet acted, so until it does the state will fund the payments, which total about $10,000 per month.
"It is a great honor to sign this bill into law today," Governor Palin said. "These Territorial Guard veterans are bona fide Alaskan heroes, cut from the same cloth as the Minutemen who answered the call to defend Lexington and Concord. They have earned every cent of their retirement benefits, as well as our enduring gratitude for their service."
The governor was joined by members of the American Legion as she signed SB 89 at Lookout Park in Haines.