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 | July 8, 2022

Alaska Naval Militia: Forged by the Last Frontier

By Victoria Granado , Alaska National Guard Public Affairs

In the United States, there are five with naval militias: Alaska, California, New York, Ohio and South Carolina. First written into law in 1970, the Alaska Naval Militia remained there until dissolved in 1974. When reestablished in 1984, state officials pointed out the thousands of miles of Alaskan coast and the “variety of specialties that can be tapped in a crisis” with an active naval militia. Decades later the naval militia augments the Alaska Organized Militia when called to volunteer for state emergencies.

By regulation, the naval militia can consist of both U.S. Navy Sailors and Marines, however, currently the roster includes only Sailors. According to the former commander, retired Cmdr. Jason Woodward, the militia is a relatively small but valued and respected operation in the AKOM.

“All of us in the naval militia feel the intrinsic need to serve that comes from joining the Navy in the first place,” Woodward said. “Up here we aren’t close to any fleet so the naval militia gives an opportunity to feel our identity as Navy Sailors.”

The Alaska Naval Militia is one element within the AKOM and Sailors will often work alongside service members in the Alaska National Guard and the Alaska State Defense Force. For its part, the naval militia provides a volunteer force with military experience and training to serve their communities in Alaska.

Each member of the naval militia maintains mission readiness and drills one weekend a month at the Navy Reserve Center here. In the NRC, Sailors fulfill the administrative, physical and medical requirements to mobilize or deploy for the U.S. Navy.

“We’re organized, have a command structure, know what it takes to meet mission demands and that makes us an asset to the state,” said Woodward.

Chief Quartermaster Michael Dixon is the senior enlisted leader for the naval militia and a member since 2014. It was his experience serving during the COVID 19 response in 2020 that solidified for him the contribution a Navy Sailor can make for the state of Alaska.

“Our mission is to provide knowledge, skills and expertise of someone serving in the U.S. military,” said Dixon. “I’ve been in Alaska since 2012, I’m Alaskan and I want to serve my home and community when they need it.”

More recently, the Alaska Naval Militia responded to the landslide in Seward blocking off the community of Lowell Point. Intelligence Specialist Seaman Katrina Clayton was the naval militia Sailor that volunteered for traffic control duties while the road was closed for debris-removal operations. 

“It was a great learning experience for me,” said Clayton, a native of Wasilla, Alaska. “I joined last August and I wanted to do more for the Navy and state I’ve called home my entire life.”

As the naval militia continues to answer calls from the state and more Sailors join, changes can be expected to improve the organization’s effectiveness in the AKOM. One already in process is the opening of membership to retired and Individual Ready Reserve Sailors. This will help ensure continuity of leadership and keep experienced and skilled Sailors in service to the state, Woodward explained.

“We have so much to offer as Navy Sailors and the drive to volunteer,” said Woodward. “Whether we’re in a fleet or not, we want to serve.”

Alaska Air National Guard rescues 6 plane crash victims near Port Alsworth
June 12, 2024
Alaska Air National Guard rescues 6 plane crash victims near Port Alsworth

Alaska Guard Soldiers honored before Middle East deployment
June 6, 2024
na

AKARNG athlete takes home top honors in Lincoln Marathon, highlights Guard sports program
June 5, 2024
na

Alaska Air National Guard rescues hypothermic mariner near Kodiak
June 3, 2024
Alaska Air National Guard trains with Coast Guard at Air Station Kodiak

AKANG 176th Wing Rescue Triad conducts water rescue training in Alaska
June 3, 2024
Alaska Air National Guard pararescuemen from the 212th Rescue Squadron conduct underway hoist training in the Prince William Sound near Whittier, Alaska, May 16, 2024. The Airmen of the 212th RQS are trained, equipped, and postured to conduct full-spectrum personnel recovery to include both conventional and unconventional rescue operations. The 212th, along with the 210th and 211th RQSs, make up the 176th Wing Rescue Triad and are among the busiest combat search and rescue units in the world. (Alaska National Guard photo by Alejandro Peña)

Alaska Army Guardsmen compete in Best Warrior Competition 2024
May 21, 2024
laska Army National Guard Sgt. Brendan White, an infantryman assigned to Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 297th Infantry Regiment, is awarded 2024 Noncomissioned Officer of the Year in a closing ceremony during the AKARNG’s State Best Warrior Competition at Camp Carroll on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, May 18, 2024.

Gobi Wolf 2024 strengthens partnerships for disaster resilience
May 20, 2024
Airman 1st Class Stefany Brummer, a fire protection specialist with the Alaska Air National Guard, operates the backup safety line during the Field Training Exercise’s high-angle rescue techniques training at Gobi Wolf 2024 in Choibalsan, Mongolia, May 9. The teams showcased best practices in safely extracting trapped individuals from precarious situations.

Alaska National Guard kicks off initial phase of Kodiak Arctic Care ‘24
May 9, 2024
Members of the U.S. Public Health Service offload from an Alaska Air National Guard C-17 Globemaster III assigned to the 144th Airlift Squadron, 176th Wing, during Kodiak Arctic Care 24 Innovative Readiness Training Mission at Kodiak, Alaska, May 6, 2024.

Alaska Air Guard’s 168th Wing Refuels Red Flag Exercise
May 8, 2024
A U.S. F-16 Fighting Falcon approaches the boom of a 168th Wing KC-135 Stratotanker during Red Flag Alaska 24-1 aerial refueling operations over Alaska April 24, 2024. The 168th Wing provided air refueling during the exercise.

Exercise Gobi Wolf 2024 Begins in Heart of Mongolian Steppe
May 8, 2024
Brig. Gen. B. Uuganbayar, left, deputy director of the Mongolian National Emergency Management Agency, presents a commemorative anniversary plaque to Australian Maj. Gen. Scott Winter, deputy commanding general - strategy and plans for the U.S. Army Pacific, during the Gobi Wolf 2024 opening ceremony at the Governor’s Palace in Choibalsan, Mongolia, May 7, 2024. Gobi Wolf is an annual joint exercise coordinated by the Mongolian National Emergency Management Agency and U.S. Army Pacific that focuses on interagency coordination within Mongolia, as well as foreign humanitarian assistance during a large-scale natural disaster.