Alaska National Guard Responds to Allegations of Sexual Assault

The Alaska National Guard is responding to allegations of sexual assault within its ranks.

Brigadier General Mike Bridges, the Commander of the Alaska National Guard says there have been nearly more than two dozen alleged cases of sexual assault since 2009.

General Mike Bridges
Brigadier General Mike Bridges. Photo from the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.

“There have been 29 cases of alleged sexual assault reported to the Alaska National Guard – and that’s with Army and/or Air National Guard,” Bridges said. “The majority of those were alleged by civilian perpetrators on guard members, whether they were in the guard then or since then.”

This week, the Anchorage Daily News reported that there was an investigation into soldiers, including some in the Alaska Army Guard’s recruiting and retention unit headquartered at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.

Alaska National Guard officials would not confirm but did not deny the report.

Bridges says the Alaska Air National Guard has a new trained sexual assault investigator, as part of a military-wide effort to get a handle on the problem.

“Across the Department of Defense the recent expanded amount of reports that were coming in across the whole Department of Defense indicated a need,” Bridges said. “And Department of Defense has now provided that and we received ours within this last year, back in the springtime.”

A statement released from the Alaska National Guard offices Tuesday said local law enforcement, such as the Anchorage Police Department of the Alaska State Troopers have been contacted in 21 cases.

Bridges says he can’t disclose how many of the cases are under investigation.

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Daysha Eaton is a contributor with the Alaska Public Radio Network. Daysha Eaton holds a B.A. from Evergreen State College, and a M.A. from the University of Southern California. Daysha got her start in radio at Seattle public radio stations, KPLU and KUOW. Before coming to KBBI, she was the News Director at KYUK in Bethel. She has also worked as the Southcentral Reporter for KSKA in Anchorage. Daysha's work has appeared on NPR's "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered", PRI's "The World" and "National Native News". She's happy to take assignments, and to get news tips, which are best sent via email. Daysha became a journalist because she believes in the power of storytelling. Stories connect us and they help us make sense of our world. They shed light on injustice and they comfort us in troubled times. She got into public broadcasting because it seems to fulfill the intention of the 4th Estate and to most effectively apply the freedom of the press granted to us through the Constitution. She feels that public radio has a special way of moving people emotionally through sound, taking them to remote places, introducing them to people they would not otherwise meet and compelling them to think about issues they might ordinarily overlook.