Director of Army National Guard coming to Bethel, Napaskiak

Air Guard Chopper ready for rescue mission photo courtesy of Guy Hayes
Air Guard Chopper ready for rescue mission photo courtesy of Guy Hayes

For the first time in recent history, the director of the Army National Guard will be visiting Bethel and Napaskiak tomorrow, Jan. 12.

Captain Walter Hotch-Hill is the commander for the National Guard Company that oversees Bethel.

“There is an overarching rural guard initiative that comes to western Alaska, and really kind of all rural Alaska–trying to increase the presence of the guard and military out there,” Hotch-Hill said. “And that’s something that being pushed from the state down.”

Lt. General Timothy Kadavy is the director of the Army National Guard, and will be visiting the two communities.

The tour will include a brunch in Bethel hosted by the Veterans of Foreign Wars organization Tuesday morning. Later in the day, officials will travel to Napaskiak and meet with military and community members there.

“We’re bringing him out to show him some of the issues that we have–trying to get soldiers and retaining them out there,” Hotch-Hill said. “That’s a totally different experience that no one else in the country really has to deal with.

Later in the week, Cpt. Hotch-Hill’s company will have their drill training in Bethel, in conjunction with the Kuskokwim 300 sled dog race. About 40 soldiers will parachute in next Thursday, and the rest of the soldiers will join shortly after.

They’ll assist with K300 checkpoints, including Bogus Creek.