Army Stops Retiree Pay for Alaskans in World War II Force

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The Army has decided to cut off retirement pay for veterans of a militia formed to guard the territory of Alaska from the threat of Japanese attack during World War II.

The change means 26 surviving members of the Alaska Territorial Guard — most in their 80s and long retired — will lose up to $557 in monthly retirement pay, a state veterans officer said this week. The payments end Feb. 1.

The state is pursuing a remedy for “these brave Alaskans, who did so much for the cause of freedom during a time of great national peril,” said Gov. Sarah Palin, the former Republican vice-presidential candidate.

The action comes nearly a decade after Congress passed a law qualifying time served in the unpaid guard as active federal service. The Army agreed in 2004 to grant official military discharge certificates to members or their survivors.

An Army official said the law was misinterpreted. The law applies to military benefits, including medical benefits, but not to retirement pay, said Lt. Col. Richard McNorton, with the Army’s human resources command in Alexandria, Va.

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