Commissioner Andrew Mack
Alaska Department of Natural Resources
550 West 7th Avenue, Suite 1400
Anchorage, AK. 99501
I am grateful to have an opportunity to lend my support for U.S. Army First Sergeant (retired) Kirk Alkire’s proposal to name Gold Star Peak in the Chugach Mountains, as outlined in his application to the Alaska Historical Commission.
I am a lifetime resident of Alaska, having arrived in Seward in 1946. I am a member of the Mountaineering Club of Alaska, a member of the Chugach State Park Citizen’s Advisory Board; as well as an avid hiker, climber and outdoorsman. My brother-in-law (deceased) Clyde “Skeet” Munn, was a decorated serviceman of the U.S. Navy.
I have often visited the site Kirk describes. While from a distance it doesn’t appear to be a separate and discreet peak of its own, at the location (as shown by Kirk’s photos) I believe there is sufficient relief from the surrounding ridge to justify naming it a peak. And since the proposed Gold Star Peak is on the same mountain complex as the existing POW/MIA Peak (about one mile away to the east), it is logical to name it in honor of families of fallen service members.
In addition, because Gold Star Peak is at a location overlooking the Glenn Highway (an interstate highway), the mountain will be seen and recognized not only by thousands of Alaskan motorists, but also by visitors from the lower 48; for indeed, Gold Star Peak would be both a state and national memorial.
As Kirk has noted, the memorial will not only include a plaque and flag atop the peak, but also a plaque at the Matsu Visitors Center Veteran’s Wall of Honor—a gathering point for Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day remembrance ceremonies.
As I am sure you have discovered, Kirk has gathered considerable support for this proposal from Alaskan citizens, political and military leaders, a native corporation (Eklutna, Inc.), national organizations such as the Society of the Honor Guard, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Arlington; and many others.
Kirk Alkire has worked very hard on this effort to honor the families of fallen service members, and in Alaska there are many. I feel privileged to have played a small role in supporting it. Thank you for your consideration of this very important and timely project.
Frank E. Baker
Frank E. Baker is a freelance writer and ECHO News team member who lives in Eagle River with his wife Rebekah, a retired Birchwood ABC school teacher. To reach Frank, email: firstname.lastname@example.org