ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A mountain peak in Alaska has been named Gold Star Peak to honor families who lost members in the Iraq War.
The effort to name the Chugach Mountains peak was led by retired U.S. Army 1st Sgt. Kirk Alkire, who spotted the peak while climbing Mount POW/MIA, KTUU-TV reported Sunday.
Alkire hikes with 53 dog tags to remember the paratroopers and soldiers who died serving with him in Iraq.
The process to name the peak took more than a year. Alkire first applied for a state grant and sought permission from the Eklutna Tribe. He then gained support from Alaska’s congressional delegation and gathered 1,500 signatures from 50 states, four countries and one territory.
Last week, Alkire traveled to Washington, where the Senate surprised him by approving his application.
“It was kept as a complete secret to me, I had no idea this was going to happen, I couldn’t have been more proud or more honored,” Alkire said.
Sen. Dan Sullivan said the U.S. Board of Geographic Names will officially name the mountain in September.