White House: No pensions for World War II vets
Amazing sacrifice of unpaid Alaskan heroes not counted as federal military service
Posted: October 01, 2009
1:25 am Eastern
By Chelsea Schilling
© 2009 WorldNetDaily
The Obama administration has advised Congress to cut off pensions for 26 elderly members of the World War II-era Alaska Territorial Guard who served the nation without pay during the Japanese attack.
According to McClatchy Newspapers, the administration sent a "strongly worded" message to Congress concerning its priorities for a military spending bill, and the service members didn't make the cut.
The Army changed its minimum retirement policy in January to no longer include service in the Guard toward the 20-year service requirement. A Senate military spending bill up for a vote in the Senate lets the 26 former Guard members count their service as active military duty so they may receive retirement pay.
McClatchy reported that Alaska state lawmakers passed a bill to compensate the veterans until Congress came up with a permanent solution.
But the White House said Sept. 25 that's it's not "appropriate to establish a precedent of treating service performed by a state employee as active duty for purposes of the computation of retired pay."
Sen. Lisa Murkowski called the Obama administration's statements "deeply disappointing, bordering on insensitive."
"The administration's justification, which is that the legislation will set the precedent of treating service as a state employee as federal service, defies logic and history," she said in a statement. "Sixty-two years after the Territorial Guard was disbanded, the Obama administration minimizes the contribution of this gallant unit to America's success in World War II by calling its service 'state service.'"
More than 6,600 Alaskans volunteered to serve in the Alaska Territorial Guard, a component of the U.S. Army organized in response to Japanese attacks on Pearl Harbor Dec. 7, 1941. According to the Tundra Drums, the male and female volunteers ranged in age from 11 to 80 years old, and they guarded their assigned territory with no pay and little equipment until the Alaska Territorial Guard was disbanded in 1947.