A TIME TO OUTRANK ACTUAL VETERANS OR MERELY COSPLAY?
Gov. Bill Walker signed an administrative order, piggy backing it as a ceremony during the return of Last Frontier Honor Flight veterans who went to Washington, D.C. to visit the war memorials.
The event took place at the Ted Stevens International Airport, where veterans disembarked from the 10th Honor Flight and were wheeled in to the front of the pop-up event to be included in the picture.
In front of men and women who were wearing medals earned through service, and wearing his military-style incident command jacket, Walker wielded his pen while highlighting his role as commander in chief.
It was a contrast with U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan, a lieutenant colonel in the United States Marine Corps Reserves, who had greeted the Honor Flight veterans in D.C. in his civilian suit and tie. No need to pull rank on these heroic veterans.
Was Gov. Walker, who has not served in the military, borrowing glory from the heroes of World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War?
Were they being used as props for a photo op for the governor, who faces a tough re-election battle?
It’s a question for the veterans among us.
Normally, governors are issued incident command jackets by the U.S. Army National Guard to wear during disasters in the incident command environment, since constitutionally the governor is the commander in chief for the Army and Air Guard.
They are not typically worn during civilian events, although a governor can wear it whenever he chooses. The patches are merely decorative to inform everyone who the governor is in the hierarchy of command.
Back in 2007, Gov. Sarah Palin visited Alaska Air National Guard troops at Camp Virginia, Kuwait, and wore a loose-fitting T-shirt.
MUSEUM TASK FORCE TO BE CREATED
Administrative Order No. 293 creates an 11-member task force to research and coordinate efforts, collect histories and artifacts, research funding and propose possible sites.
“Alaska has a rich and complicated relationship with the U.S. military,” states the administrative order.
“Major components of that history currently go unrecognized. The internment of Alaska Native people in Southeast Alaska during WWII. The role African-American soldiers played in the building of the Alcan, referred to as the “Road to Integration” in the Army. The Aleutian Islands’ role as the only part of North America to endure prolonged enemy occupation by Japan during World War II.”
“Alaska has more veterans per capita than any other state in the country, and Alaska Native people serve the armed forces in higher proportions than any other demographic. It is important to recognize this history, and honor those who sacrifice, those who continue to serve, and those who will serve the future,” the order says.
The task force, which will be appointed by the governor, is to produce an initial report by Oct. 1.