While there may be many other Alaskans who are buried in Arlington National Cemetery, Sen. Ted Stevens is the most well-known. Here is a snapshot of a few of the Alaskans, as well as others who were not Alaskans but who died in Alaska while serving the country.
Ted Stevens, the U.S. senator from Alaska who served in the Senate from 1968 to 2009, played a crucial role in shaping legislation related to Alaska and was known for his advocacy of the state’s interests. Stevens, who was a World War II pilot in the Army Air Corps in the China Burma India Theater, was awarded two Air Medals for his service. After leaving office, he died in a small plane crash in 2010 in western Alaska and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
Chief Warrant Officer Chester W. Troxel, 45, of Anchorage, died in 2006 when his UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter crashed during a night mission near Tall Afar, Iraq, killing all 12 American military personnel onboard. The cause of the crash was believed to be the weather.
Troxel was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal and the Alaska Distinguished Service Medal. He was the 219th person killed in the Iraq war who was subsequently laid to rest at Arlington. Troxel had worked for Era Aviation before his career in the Army, Army Reserve and Army National Guard, which spanned 26 years.
Marine Corps Lance Corporal Grant Fraser, of Anchorage was assigned to the 4th Reconnaissance Battalion, 4th Marine Division, Marine Forces Reserve, Elmendorf Air Force Base. He was attached to Regimental Combat Team 2, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward). Fraser was killed Aug. 3, 2005, when the amphibious assault vehicle he was in was hit by an improvised explosive device during combat operations south of Hadithah, Iraq. Also killed were Marine Lance Cpls. Michael J. Cifuentes, Aaron H. Reed, Edward A. Schroeder II, Kevin G. Waruinge and William B. Wightman.
Ruth Helen Weber Kilcher-Mariott, the grandmother of singer-songwriter Jewel, lived in Alaska with her husband Yule Kilcher for many years. She and Yule divorced in 1969 and she moved to Tennessee. In 1971 she married Charles Rodney “Rod” Mariott in New Mexico. She is buried in Arlington next to her husband Rod.
Second Lt. Harold E. Hoskin, the Air Force pilot who died in an aircraft crash in 1943 near Fairbanks, was buried at Arlington National Cemetery in 2007.
Lieutenant Hoskin was 22 when his B-24 Liberator crashed 120 miles east of Fairbanks. Several other crew members died in the crash, bought on by ice fog. His remains were identified in 2007 following an investigation prompted by Douglas Beckstead, who served as the historian for Elmendorf Air Force Base. Beckstead insisted on a full archaeological dig after he saw a glint of metal that turned out to be Hoskin’s parachute buckle. The story of his life is at this Air Force link.
Navy Captain Anthony Rogers Brady, who died of pneumonia in Adak in 1947, was buried in Arlington National Cemetery. He was from Fernandina, Florida, and was the commanding officer of the Naval Air Facility at Adak. Before Adak, he commanded the Jacksonville, Florida Naval Air Station.
Sgt. First Class Nyman, a member of the U.S. Army’s elite Delta Force, was deployed to Afghanistan in 2002 and Iraq in 2005. During the Iraq tour, he was in a helicopter crash, but survived. From Colorado, he fought back to health and climbed mountains, dying Feb. 2, 2021 in an avalanche in Alaska, with two of his fellow climbers. He was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
Crew of World War II U.S. Navy aircraft
The remains of seven American servicemen missing in action from World War II were finally found in Russia, identified and returned to their families for burial with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery on Nov. 20, 2003.
The seven Navy aircrew members were: Lt. Walter S. Whitman Jr. of Philadelphia, Pa.; Lt. j.g. John W. Hanlon Jr. of Worcester, Mass.; Petty Officer 2nd Class Clarence C. Fridley of Manhattan, Mont.; Petty Officer 2nd Class Donald G. Lewallen of Omaha, Neb.; Petty Officer 2nd Class Jack J. Parlier of Decatur Ill.; Petty Officer 3rd Class Samuel L. Crown Jr. of Columbus, Ohio and Petty Officer 3rd Class James S. Palko of Superior, Wis.
According to the Department of Defense, on March 25, 1944, Whitman and his crew took off in their PV-1 Ventura bomber from their base on Attu Island, in the Aleutians and headed for enemy targets in the Kurile Islands of Japan. The aircraft was part of a five-plane flight which encountered heavy weather throughout the entire mission. About six hours into the mission, the base at Attu notified Whitman by radio of his bearing. There was no further contact with the crew. When Whitman’s aircraft failed to return, an over water search was initiated by surface ships and aircraft in an area extending 200 miles from Attu, but no wreckage was found.
In 2000, representatives of the U.S.-Russia Joint Commission on POW/MIAs received a report from a Russian citizen who had discovered wreckage in 1962 of a U.S. aircraft on the Kamchatka peninsula on the east coast of Russia.
Later that year, specialists from the Central Identification Laboratory Hawaii, along with members of the commission, found the wreckage and some human remains, the Defense Department wrote.
The following year, the team returned to the crash site to conduct an excavation. They recovered additional remains, artifacts, and aircrew-related items which correlated to the names on the manifest of the PV-1.
Photo: Sen. Ted Stevens in his military days, credit to Ted Stevens Foundation.