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During the cold war, the battle line was drawn right here on the North Slope, with the Soviets skulking just across the Bering Strait. Most Alaska Guard members stayed in the state, protecting the home front. But the world has changed. For this war, 670 Guard members have been called up from rural Alaska, its largest foreign deployment ever. The Alaska Guard estimates that one-third of its members are Eskimo, so most likely a third of those deployed are indigenous men, officials say, though the military does not keep official racial records of this type.

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