Dyson Introduces Bill to Name Elmendorf AFB Fish Hatchery In Honor of Bill Hernandez, Alaskan Fish Rearing Pioneer
JUNEAU - Senator Fred Dyson, R-Eagle River, has introduced legislation to recognize long-time fish hatchery and fish-rearing pioneer William Jack (Bill) Hernandez by naming the state's sport fish hatchery on Elmendorf AFB in his honor. Hernandez, who worked in fish hatchery, rearing and habitat projects at Ft. Richardson and Elmendorf for 28 years, passed away in 2003 at age 83.
Hernandez was a WWII civilian POW, having been captured by the Japanese at the fall of Wake Island in December 1941, where he was building fortifications for the USMC. He was held for the next three years at various POW camps in China. In 1947, Hernandez enlisted in the US Army, and in 1956 he was posted at Ft. Richardson, where he served as a fish and wildlife conservation NCO. Over the next 28 years, he worked with various federal and state agencies to develop and build hatchery programs, stocking local streams with Rainbow Trout, and Chinook and Coho Salmon.
"Without a doubt, Bill Hernandez was more responsible than any other single person for the hatchery programs on Elmendorf and Ft. Richardson," said Dyson. "He faced many difficult challenges in building these programs, and every sport fisher in the Anchorage Bowl benefits today from the hard work he put in decades ago. I can't think of a more appropriate Alaskan to name the Elmendorf hatchery after."
The bill, SB 274, was referred to the Resources Committee.