ALASKA TERRITORIAL GUARD
The Alaska Territorial Guard (ATG) or Eskimo Scout is a reserve force of the US Army created in 1942 in response to the Japanese attack during the Second World War. ATG operated until 1947.
6,392 volunteers, unpaid, came from 107 communities across Alaska from the Aleut, Athabaskan, White, Inupiaq, Haida, Tlingit, Tsimshian and Yupik nations.
The age of recruitment of members goes from 12 to 80 years! In general volunteers would be in the ATG because they were too young or too old to serve the army.
A first estimate talks about 20,000 direct and indirect volunteers for ATG recognition and support activities. Current official census data refer to 6,392 volunteers. Of this figure, 27 were women and provided medical care as nurses and relief workers.
The ATG provided vital support for the Allied war effort:
- they protected the only source of heavy iron in the region
- They secured the terrain around the Lend - Lease air route between the United States and Russia.
- They set up and maintained survival camps along the transport routes and the coastal region.
In addition to their official mission, the ATG members are recognized for their great integration into the military forces and their good relationship with the communities they protected.
In 2000, all ATG members are eligible for a military pension for their service, but efforts to find all members and assist them in the process were very difficult. The lack of archives and too much bureaucracy slows the recognition of its members.
Canadians had their equivalent of ATG:
Established in 1942 the Pacific Coast Militia Rangers (PCMR), largely formed of Amerindians, monitor the coast in anticipation of possible Japanese landings. It was the equivalent of ATG in Canada. After Pearl Harbor, indeed, there was reason to fear the threat of incursions or even invasions by the Japanese, as happened in the Kiska and Attu Aleutian Islands. In fact, the PCMR were never called to fight against Japanese and had to report no landing. In the early months of 1945, however, the Japanese tried in vain to provoke forest fires in northwestern America by launching incendiary balloons. The Rangers managed to detect the arrival of these machines a few times, which allowed the Air Force to shoot them down before they caused any damage. They then collected fragments of these balloons for analysis by the intelligence services. This militia was dissolved in 1945, at the time of the Japanese capitulation, but it inspired, at the very least, the creation, in 1947, of a new national organization called the Canadian Rangers and designed to answer the new challenges of the war cold.