Dyson Bill to Name Elmendorf AFB Fish Hatchery in Honor of Bill Hernandez Passes Senate
JUNEAU – The Alaska Senate today unanimously passed CSSB 274 (RES), naming the state’s sport fish hatchery on Elmendorf AFB to honor long-time fish hatchery and fish-rearing pioneer William Jack (Bill) Hernandez. Hernandez, who worked in fish hatchery, rearing and habitat projects at Ft. Richardson and Elmendorf for 28 years, passed away in 2003 at age 83The original SB 274 was sponsored by Sen. Fred Dyson, R-Eagle River. The Resources committee substitute makes it clear that the fish hatchery is currently under construction and is expected to be completed in May 2011.
“I am pleased the members of the Senate have agreed to recognize Bill Hernandez for his contributions to the fisheries of the Upper Cook Inlet,” Dyson said. “Mr. Hernandez was more responsible than any other single person for the hatchery programs on Elmendorf and Ft. Richardson. I can’t think of a more appropriate Alaskan to name the Elmendorf hatchery after.”
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.CSSB 274 (RES) will now be sent to the House of Representatives for its consideration.