Murkowski Honors Army Veteran, ATG Member Earl Wineck
“You Had to Do What You Had to Do To Survive” on Aleutians during WWII
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Lisa Murkowski is releasing her 5th Veteran Spotlight installment today, featuring Earl Wineck of Anchorage – an Alaska Territorial Guard (ATG) member and U.S. Army veteran. In 1934, before World War II, Wineck’s father headed to the Matanuska-Susitna Valley to make a place for his family. Two years later, Earl’s mother took the rest of the family to Alaska in a Studebaker to join up with his father and begin farming.
In 1942, Wineck joined the ATG at 15, the earliest age permitted. As an ATG member, he watched the skies over Southcentral Alaska for any signs of Japanese airplanes and helped Valley families conduct several blackout drills during World War II. As soon as Earl Wineck turned 18 in 1945, he was drafted into the U.S. Army, and was stationed on Adak Island.
During his Veteran Spotlight interview, Wineck recalls the harsh reality of military service on the farthest reaches of Alaska’s Aleutian Islands. Rotten food, isolation, murder and suicide claimed the lives of some of his fellow soldiers. Wineck says he survived due to the unique type of toughness he had acquired living and working as a farmer in the Mat-Su Valley.
Earl Wineck, ATG & U.S. Army Veteran
“I guess I was lucky - I survived all that, and I think the big reason was the way I was brought up. As a farming family, you had to do what you had to do to survive,” said Wineck. “You had to depend on each other in those early days, and I used that same mentality to survive Adak.”
“Earl’s story is one of an Alaskan pioneer, in more ways than one,” said Sen. Murkowski. “The Alaskan pioneering spirit shaped Earl and proved to be a lifeline for him in the Aleutian Islands Campaign during World War II. We owe it to veterans like Earl Wineck to honor them through sharing their stories, and we owe it to the rest of us to learn from the high levels of patriotism, commitment and service they demonstrated for us.”
The “Veteran Spotlight” project is a monthly focus on an Alaska veteran of our conflicts worldwide to honor and draw the well-deserved attention to Alaska’s men and women who served. This installment is the fifth in the series that began on Memorial Day weekend of 2012. Every month, the Senator will post a biography and an interview with an Alaskan who served our country abroad, in conjunction with the Library of Congress’ Veterans History Project. You can watch them all by clicking here.
Senator Murkowski invites all Alaskans to nominate a veteran from the 49th state to be featured in the Veteran Spotlight project. If you have a family member or friend in the community you think has a story to share, email Spotlight@Murkowski.Senate.Gov.