As our Guard returns from Kuwait, the anniversary of the original “Eskimo Guard”. The Yukon Kuskokwim Delta’s troops are supposed to arrive in BEThel late tonight.
- See previous posts here, Eskimo Guard
The version of the article published in the Anchorage Daily News is a bit more complete and has a different set of photos.
Web posted October 16, 2007
RACHEL D’ORO The Associated Press
This year is the 60th anniversary of the disbanding of the civilian force formed to protect Alaska villages from the Japanese during World War II.
ANCHORAGE – Harold Bahr became a man at 11, when he joined a largely Native militia called up to protect the vast territory of Alaska from the threat of Japanese aggression during World War II…
Despite his age, Bahr was eligible to sign up to defend his homeland. This was 17 years before statehood and older recruits would be armed with outmoded World War I Enfield rifles. Some of the younger members, including Bahr, would make do with nonshooting wooden replicas, but it didn’t matter.
…Bahr, 76, is among an estimated 300 members still living from the original 6,600-member unit to be commemorated Thursday, Alaska Territorial Guard day…
Nicknamed Uncle Sam’s Men, the territorial guards were organized by Army Air Corps Maj. Marvin “Muktuk” Marston. A charismatic orator, Marston traveled by dog sled across the frozen tundra, delivering impassioned speeches to recruit boys as young as Bahr or well into their 80s, as well as men of fighting age who were exempt from war duty. Some women who could outshoot the men also joined up…. The guard was disbanded with little fanfare on March 31, 1947, almost two years after the war ended. Some members liked the camaraderie and protective stance so much they kept up their drills. A few units remained active right up to the reorganization of the Alaska National Guard in 1949