Routes to War, Victory and Freedom

Caterpillar tractor with grader widening the roadway of the Alcan Highway in 1942 (File photo courtesy of the Library of Congress)

As part of Alaska Public Media’s observance of Veterans Day, we’re taking a look at how Alaska became involved in World War 2, and how those events attracted the attention of the continental United States and the rest of the world. We will hear three separate stories, the first of which comes from a navy pilot who flew in the Battle of Midway. We’ll then learn about the hard work and sacrifices made by the black soldiers that helped build the Alaskan Highway. We’ll finish the program learning about the Lend Lease program that sent American planes to Russia.



  • Z.W. “Ski” Kowalewski, a former Navy Pilot who flew in the Battle of Midway. Ski has published a memoir of his WWII experiences entitled, A Sailor’s Life in World War II.
  • Katherine Ringsmuth, UAA Adjunct Professor of History and the sole proprietor of Tundra Vision: Public History Consultants
  • Craig Lang, Director of the BRAVO 369 Flight Foundation



  • David Ramseur, author of Melting the Ice Curtain and a Visiting Scholar in Public Policy at UAA’s Institute of Social and Economic Research



RECORDED: Friday, October 12, 2017 at Eagle River High School.

BROADCAST: Tuesday, October 14, 2017. 2:00 pm – 3:00 p.m. AKT


Addressing Alaskans features local lectures and forums recorded at public events taking place in Southcentral Alaska. A variety of local organizations host speakers addressing topics that matter to Alaskans. To let us know about an upcoming community event that you would like to hear on Addressing Alaskans, please Contact Us with details.

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Eric Bork, or you can just call him “Bork” because everybody else does, is the FM Operations Manager for KSKA-FM. He oversees the day-to-day operations of the FM broadcast. He produces and edits episodes of Outdoor Explorer, the Alaska-focused outdoors program. He also maintains the web posts for that show. You may have heard him filling in for Morning Edition or hosting All Things Considered and can still find him operating the soundboard for any of the live broadcast programs.

After escaping the Detroit area when he was 18, Bork made it up to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, where he earned a degree in Communications/Radio Broadcasting from Northern Michigan University. He spent time managing the college radio station, working for the local NPR affiliate, and then in top 40 radio in Michigan before coming to Alaska to work his first few summers. After then moving to Chicago, it only took five years to convince him to move back to Alaska in 2010. When not involved in great radio programming he’s probably riding a bicycle, thinking about riding bicycles, dreaming about bikes, reading a book, or planning the next place he’ll travel to. Only two continents left to conquer!

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