An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

NEWS | March 31, 2022

Alaska National Guard raises awareness through Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month

By Spc. Grace Nechanicky Joint Force Headquarters Public Affairs

The Alaska National Guard kicked off April as Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month March 30 with a proclamation signing and remarks by Maj. Gen. Torrence Saxe, adjutant general and commissioner for the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. 
The Alaska National Guard recognizes SAAPM as part of a Department of Defense-wide focus on raising awareness of sexual harassment and sexual assault, prevention methods, and appropriate care and responses.
“We’re here to help facilitate the care and wellness for victims of sexual assault, and also bring awareness and educate on prevention methods,” said Ashley Shelton, the sexual assault response coordinator for the Alaska National Guard. “We want to prevent these things from happening, but should they happen, we want to make sure we can provide the appropriate care and response to individuals who need it.”
During the month of April, the AKNG Sexual Assault Prevention and Response program will be hosting Teal Tuesdays, where individuals are encouraged to wear teal to bring awareness to sexual violence and show support of survivors.  In addition to periodic breakfast training sessions, the program will also feature Denim Day, where people are encouraged to wear denim, an event that stems from a 1998 Italian Supreme Court rape conviction that was overturned because the victim wore tight jeans.
DoD’s 2022 SAAPM theme is “STEP FORWARD. Prevent. Report. Advocate,” and is “a
call to action for individuals at all levels of the Department to use their personal strength to advance positive change in preventing sexual violence.”
Shelton explained that it is critical that all individuals do their part in each of these steps, as well as creating an environment that is comfortable for victims to come forward.
“That advocate piece is even bigger than just me and our other victim advocates,” she said. “Everybody needs to take an opportunity to advocate for the program to their Soldiers, Airmen, and their peers.”
At the event, Saxe signed the proclamation for a renewed commitment to protect Guard members, mission partners and the local community.
“If you can look forward and understand that this isn’t a program, it’s a culture, then you can eradicate it [sexual assault] from the ranks,” said Saxe. “That doesn’t just include people who have done the act but those who condone the act and don’t step forward to correct the act. That’s my challenge to myself, that’s my challenge to the organization, to make sure that, yes, we talk the talk, but we walk the walk.”

Shelton agreed on the importance of everyone taking an active, daily role in the program.

“Everybody should know that our leadership does understand this program, they do support this program, and they will be there for their Soldiers and Airmen should they need to utilize the program in the future,” said Shelton.
Saxe concluded the ceremony with a call to action for all members of the Alaska National Guard.

“Let’s go forward as a state, as the Alaska National Guard and be that shining example,” he said. “Every single person, regardless of rank or title, is entitled to be treated with dignity and respect. If we do that than our operational mission is going to be all the more successful.”
Alaska Air National Guardsman volunteers as JROTC drill judge
February 22, 2024
Alaska Air National Guardsman volunteers as JROTC drill judge

Bison Company’s cold weather training triumphs in Bethel
February 7, 2024
Bison Company, 1st Battalion, 297th Infantry Regiment, demonstrated readiness and resilience during their cold weather training in Bethel, Alaska, February 2-4, 2024.
This training marked a significant reunion for the Alaska Army National Guard infantry unit in Bethel, emphasizing the city's importance as a training ground that challenges Soldiers to adapt and excel in real-world scenarios.

Alaska Naval Militia, U.S. Navy Reserve pay tribute to S-26 submariners
January 24, 2024
In a solemn gathering at the U.S. Navy Reserve Center on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, sailors from the Alaska Naval Militia and U.S. Navy Reserve assembled Jan. 24, to pay homage to their fallen comrades lost 82 years ago.

Aircraft maintenance Airmen critical part of Pave Hawk transport mission
January 11, 2024
Airmen from the Alaska Air National Guard 176th Aircraft Maintenance from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, and the active duty 718th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron from Kadena Air Base, Japan, conducted a joint operation to transport an HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter from Bethel to JBER in early January 2024.

Alaska National Guard's Operation Santa Claus spreads holiday cheer to remote communities
December 5, 2023
Alaska Air National Guard pilots 1st Lt. Skylar Caldwell, left, and Capt. Gerren Blair, and loadmaster, Tech Sgt. John Teamer II, enjoy time with Santa and Mrs. Claus while flying the festive couple to Bethel during Operation Santa Claus Nov. 15, 2023.

Alaska Military Youth Academy honored with Gold Pan Award
November 22, 2023
The Anchorage Chamber of Commerce hosted the 66th Annual Gold Pan Awards on Nov. 17, 2023, at the Dena'ina Center in Anchorage.

Alaska National Guard's Operation Santa Claus makes a lifesaving detour
November 16, 2023
From the left, Holly Demert and Clifton Dalton, both flight paramedics with LifeMed, and Chief Warrant Officer 3 Bryan Kruse, Bethel Army Aviation Operating Facility commander, move a critically ill patient from an AKARNG UH-60L Black Hawk helicopter to an ambulance during a medical evacuation from Napaskiak to Bethel, Nov. 15, 2023

Cadets soar in Civil Air Patrol search and rescue exercise
November 13, 2023
Civil Air Patrol Lt. Col. Stephen Sammons, left, Alaska Wing emergency services officer, instructs CAP cadets from the Southcentral Region where to find an Emergency Locator Transmitter onboard a Cessna 172 aircraft during a three-day training event Nov. 4, 2023, at the Birchwood Airport in Chugiak, Alaska.

A new set of cross pistols: AKARNG "Wolf Gang" Military Police Company deactivates, ushering in new detachment
November 3, 2023
Alaska Army National Guard Capt. Michael Thrall, left, outgoing commander, and 1st Sgt. Bethany Amarone, outgoing noncommissioned officer in charge, both assigned to the 297th Military Police Company, retire the colors of the unit’s flag as part of a deactivation ceremony for the company at the Alcantra Armory in Wasilla, Alaska, Nov. 2, 2023.

Alaska Army National Guard’s Bison Company set to deploy to Middle East
September 30, 2023
Alaska Army National Guard 1st Sgt. Oliver Meza, Bravo Company first sergeant, shows off his unit’s patch during a deployment ceremony where family members, friends, and fellow Guardsmen came together to pay tribute to Soldiers of B Co., 1st Battalion, 297th Infantry Regiment, at the Alaska National Guard Armory on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Sept. 29, 2023.