ANCHORAGE (KTUU) More than 70-years since they last served, several Alaska Territorial Guard members received a medal and certificate of honorable discharge.
On Friday, an Honorable Discharge Ceremony was held at the Alaska Native Heritage Center to recognize 16-former Alaska Territorial Guard members for their service.
From 1942 to 1947, the office of Veterans affairs says 6,402 Alaskans served in the Alaska Territorial Guard, protecting Alaska’s waters, skies and helping with search and rescue missions, but as of Friday, only 2,579 have been honored.
"A lot of people don't realize that their ancestors were in the Alaska territorial guard," said Dr. Michael Livingston, Alaska Native Heritage Center. "They just don't know that they're eligible for medals, patches and certificates of honorable discharge."
It wasn't until the year 2000 when ATG members became eligible for honorary discharge, in part thanks to then Sen. Ted Stevens.
Although some of the ATG members honored Friday are still alive, none were able to attend the ceremony.
The office of Veterans affairs hopes to have all soldiers honorably discharged by 2042, which will mark the 100-year anniversary of the Alaska Territorial Guard.