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CAMP DENALI, Alaskaâ€” Members of the Alaska State Defense Force (ASDF) are joining efforts today to assist volunteers and Seward firefighters with the search for missing Mount Marathon runner, Michael LeMaitre, who disappeared during the annual race July 4.
LeMaitre, a 66-year-old Anchorage resident, was last seen near the peak of the 3,022-foot mountain where runners turn to head back down the mountain to Seward.
Ground teams and aerial search crews, including the Alaska Air National Guard, thoroughly searched the mountain before Alaska State Troopers called off the main search efforts late July 7. However, local citizens and Seward Fire Department personnel have carried on the efforts in hopes they may still find LeMaitre, the first person to disappear in the 85th running of Mount Marathon.
The ASDF had nine members report to the Seward Fire Department at 9 a.m. to assist in search efforts, with five additional members in reserve to set up camp and assist as needed. The ASDF has a long history of working with the City of Seward supporting port security efforts and special events.
“We are excited to answer the needs of our friends in Seward,” said Brig. Gen. (AK) Roger Holl, commander of the ASDF. “We helped rescue an injured racer from Mount Marathon a couple of years ago and we feel that we can provide additional resources to the local first-responders to make them more effective.”
“This is the perfect role for the Alaska State Defense Force,” said Maj. Gen. Thomas H. Katkus, adjutant general of the Alaska National Guard. “ASDF volunteers are very effective in filling support roles to assist communities and emergency response personnel. They are valuable Alaska citizens who uphold the values of the State of Alaska and the Department of Military & Veterans Affairs. Their ability to respond quickly and assist the search efforts for Michael LeMaitre are a true credit to their ability to support response efforts here in Alaska.”
The ASDF is a volunteer state military organization inside the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs whose primary role is to augment and support the Alaska National Guard in times of emergency. ASDF soldiers meet monthly for training and are equipped for various missions including communications, emergency management, medical, logistical support, chaplaincy and shelter management.