(David Gilkey/NPR)
Laban Iyatunguk, who served in the ATG, or "Eskimo Scouts," walks away from the Veterans of Foreign Wars hall in Nome, where VA officials from Washington, D.C., were trying to register ATG vets. Iyatunguk says he has waited years to take advantage of his VA benefits but found the application process too daunting.

NPR: Forgotten For Decades, WWII Alaska Natives Finally Get Their Due

ICTMN Staff
5/30/13

NPR's All Things Considered reported May 28 on the more than 6,300 Alaska Natives who volunteered to serve with the Alaska Territorial Guard during World War II, a group that's largely gone without recognition over the last 60 plus years.

The Alaska Territorial Guard never had to fight off a full-fledged Japanese invasion, but the service members — who served without pay — did rescue a downed pilot and secured key airfields across the massive Alaskan territory. The unit dissolved at the end of the war, seemingly from the pages of history, too.

"ATG was almost [a] forgotten branch that took part in World War II," Laban Iyatunguk told NPR's Quil Lawrence.

The U.S. government certainly seemed to forget about them: It took until 2000 to get the ATG recognized as veterans, then several years more for the bureaucracy to start registering them for benefits.

Read the rest of NPR's story, "Forgotten For Decades, WWII Alaskans Finally Get Their Due," by clicking here. Also available on that site is a podcast of the All Things Considered to listen to and download, plus a full transcript of the broadcast.

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