Here’s a nominally edited comment from a reader who gives some background on a previous National Guard investigation, which I looked into some. I couldn’t come up with much except for this story, and this Administrative Order, signed by Gov. Tony Knowles. Anybody else know about this? (Note: After I published this, someone sent me this article from the Seattle Times about the investigation. It’s an interesting read.)
I am a former Alaska Guard Member who left the Guard in disgust after an extensive investigation that had been conducted in 1994 came to light in 1995. This was called the Hightower investigation and it produced more than 100 allegations of racial bias, official misconduct, theft of government property and misuse of government property. All of the allegations were highly credible and well substantiated.
When the report from this investigation became public, Gov. Tony Knowles established the Alaska National Guard Board of Inquiry with Administrative order 151 and then amended the board’s scope and duties with Administrative order 153. The Board was to investigate the allegations and develop a course of action and report their findings and recommendations to the Adjutant General (Jake Lestinkof) the Governor (Tony Knowles) and the leadership of both houses of the Legislature: House Speaker Ramona Barnes and President of the Senate Lyman Hoffman.
I at first thought that the governor’s efforts were laudable, but as the year finished out and the Board met and then dissolved, and no other actions were taken, I slowly began to realize that nothing other than lip service was going to occur. Since then three separate governors have had opportunities to address the leadership problems that have plagued the National Guard for more than a decade and none have done so. Not Knowles. Not Gov. Frank Murkowski. Not Gov. Sarah Palin. Our current governor is also guilty of making an attempt to have this “just go away,” but the issue has grown so bad that he was unable to hide it any longer.
Yes, the governor should have done a lot more and should have acted a lot sooner. However, there are a lot of people who had many chances to do something to correct the well-known toxic culture in the Alaska National Guard and did absolutely nothing.