Army cuts off pay for Alaska WWII militia
By RACHEL D'ORO
The Associated Press
Published: January 22nd, 2009 02:09 PM
Last Modified: January 22nd, 2009 05:31 PM
The Army has decided to cut off retirement pay for veterans of a largely Native militia formed to guard the territory of Alaska from the threat of Japanese attack during World War II.
The change means 26 surviving members of the Alaska Territorial Guard -- most in their 80s and long retired -- will lose as much as $557 in monthly retirement pay, a state veterans officer said Thursday. The payments end Feb. 1, according to U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski.
"What kind of a government, what kind of a Cruella, could cut retirement benefits to a group of Eskimos in their 80s in the dead of Alaskan winter?" the Alaska Republican asked Thursday on the Senate floor. "It is time for some soul searching on this at the Pentagon."
Applications for retirement pay from 37 others have been suspended.
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," Gov. Sarah Palin said.