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The Latest: Deceased members of WWII Alaska militia honored

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The Latest on a ceremony for deceased members of a World War II militia in Alaska (all times local):

1:45 p.m.

Relatives of deceased members of a largely Native Alaskan citizen militia who guarded the U.S. territory during World War II have received Army discharge papers meant as a posthumous honor.

Gov. Bill Walker was among the officials who presented the documents to family members of 16 volunteers from the Alaska Territorial Guard during a ceremony Friday in Anchorage.

Nearly 2,600 discharge papers have been issued since 2004 as militia members or relatives are found or apply for them. Alaska Native Heritage Center officials plan to make the ceremony a yearly event.

In 1942, before Alaska was a state, the 6,400-member militia was formed to defend the territory from the threat of Japanese invasion.

The unit disbanded in 1947, but its members weren’t recognized by the Army until 2004.

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4:50 a.m.

Army discharge papers will finally be issued for 16 members who served in a largely Native citizen militia to guard Alaska during World War II.

Gov. Bill Walker will present the documents to relatives of the deceased members of the Alaska Territorial Guard Friday at the Alaska Native Heritage Center in Anchorage.

Nearly 2,600 discharge papers have been issued since 2004 as militia members or relatives are found or apply for them. Heritage officials plan to make the Anchorage ceremony a yearly event.

Alaska was still 17 years away from statehood when the 6,400-member militia was formed in 1942 to defend the territory from the threat of Japanese invasion.

The militia disbanded in 1947, but its members weren’t recognized by the Army until 2004.

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