Senators take a moment of silence at the Capitol on Monday, Jan, 29, 2018, in memory of three Alaskan servicemen killed in action. The senate voted in favor of Senate Concurrent Resolution 14 to award the Alaska Decoration of Honor to David T. Brabander, Hansen B. Kirkpatrick and Jacob M. Sims. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Senators take a moment of silence at the Capitol on Monday, Jan, 29, 2018, in memory of three Alaskan servicemen killed in action. The senate voted in favor of Senate Concurrent Resolution 14 to award the Alaska Decoration of Honor to David T. Brabander, Hansen B. Kirkpatrick and Jacob M. Sims. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Senate votes to award medals to three slain Alaska soldiers

The families of two men from Wasilla and one man from Skagway will receive medals awarded by the State of Alaska for military service.

In an 18-0 vote Monday, the Alaska Senate approved the Alaska Decoration of Honor for three American soldiers with Alaska roots. All three were killed in 2017.

The three are Jacob Sims, formerly of Skagway, and Hansen Kirkpatrick and David Brabander.

Senate Concurrent Resolution 14 now goes to the House, where it is expected to pass by a wide margin, if not unanimously.

The Decoration of Honor was created under 2007 legislation and calls for a medal to be awarded to the families of soldiers who have been killed in combat. The person must be someone who was a legal resident of the state or stationed in the state.

Sen. Mia Costello, R-Anchorage, spoke on the floor in support of the resolution awarding the medal and said 241 Alaskans have received the medal. (Every Alaskan killed in combat since statehood became eligible when it was created.)

The medal was designed by Alaska artist Jon Van Zyle and features an eagle with outstretched wings above a field of Forget-Me-Nots and a sky filled with the northern lights. The circular medal is topped with a large star, signifying Polaris.

Costello said physical medals will be struck for each family once the Legislature finishes the authorization process.

Chief Warrant Officer Jacob Sims was killed by a helicopter crash in Afghanistan on Oct. 28. Sims, who was living in Oklahoma, was raised in Skagway and joined the military as a combat engineer. He ultimately switched careers and became a helicopter pilot. He served multiple tours of duty in Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan.

The other two recipients of the medal are Hansen Kirkpatrick and David Brabander, both of Wasilla.

Kirkpatrick was a 19-year-old private and mortarman stationed at Fort Bliss in Texas. Deployed to Helmand Province, Afghanistan, he was killed July 3 in what the military described as an indirect fire attack.

He graduated from Service High School and married his high school sweetheart in a ceremony on Dec. 30, 2016. He had been scheduled to return home Oct. 5, according to his obituary.

Brabander was a 24-year-old squad leader at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. Deployed to Afghanistan in September, he was killed Dec. 11 in that country’s Nangahar Province when his vehicle overturned in a combat zone.


• Contact reporter James Brooks at james.k.brooks@juneauempire.com or call 523-2258.


Sen. Anna MacKinnon, R-Eagle River, and Sen. Lyman Hoffman, D-Bethel, speak to Floyd Dryden Middle School eighth grade students just before a floor session at the Capitol on Monday, Jan. 29, 2018. The League of Women Voters of Juneau and The Alaska Committee are sponsoring a program to bring all of Juneau’s 400 eighth grade students to the Capitol for an introduction to the executive, legislative and judicial branches. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Sen. Anna MacKinnon, R-Eagle River, and Sen. Lyman Hoffman, D-Bethel, speak to Floyd Dryden Middle School eighth grade students just before a floor session at the Capitol on Monday, Jan. 29, 2018. The League of Women Voters of Juneau and The Alaska Committee are sponsoring a program to bring all of Juneau’s 400 eighth grade students to the Capitol for an introduction to the executive, legislative and judicial branches. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

More in News

Jasmine Chavez, a crew member aboard the Quantum of the Seas cruise ship, waves to her family during a cell phone conversation after disembarking from the ship at Marine Park on May 10. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Ships in port for the week of July 13

Here’s what to expect this week.

A mother bear and a cub try to get into a trash can on a downtown street on July 2, 2024. Two male bears were euthanized in a different part of downtown Juneau on Wednesday because they were acting aggressively near garbage cans, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Two black bears in downtown Juneau euthanized due to aggressive behavior around people

Exposed garbage, people insistent on approaching bears contribute to situation, official says

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Wedesday, July 17, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Cars arrive at Juneau International Airport on Thursday, July 11, 2024. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Juneau seems to have avoided major disruptions following global technology-related outage

911 centers, hospitals, airport, and public safety and emergency management agencies are operating.

People take photos of local dignitaries during the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Teal Street Center on Thursday afternoon. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Teal Street Center celebrates with ribbon-cutting a year after social agencies begin providing services

Nine organizations providing legal, disability, counseling and other help open under one roof.

Alaska Permanent Fund Corp. board chairman Ethan Schutt is seen during a special board meeting on Monday, Oct. 3, 2022, in Juneau. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
Dunleavy reappoints Permanent Fund Corp. board chair Schutt after weeks of uncertainty

Gov. Mike Dunleavy has reappointed Ethan Schutt to a public seat on… Continue reading

Employees gather in front the historic Red Onion Saloon in Skagway, which will be taken over by Juneau restaurant owner Tracy LaBarge at the end of the summer tourism season. (Photo courtesy of the Red Onion Saloon)
Owner of Tracy’s King Crab Shack buys historic Red Onion Saloon in Skagway

Tracy LaBarge will take over the establishment after the 2024 summer tourism season

A memorial started on Front Street in downtown Juneau for 35-year-old Juneau resident Steven Kissack, who was experiencing homelessness, grows on Thursday with food donations and suicide hotline information. (Jasz Garrett / Juneau Empire)
As the death investigation of Steven Kissack begins, special prosecution office explains its process

Reviews can be lengthy, information limited to ensure due process, Department of Law leaders say

In this screenshot from a streamed court hearing, Attorney Thekla Hansen-Young (bottom right) speaks in front of a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on July 18, 2024, in San Francisco. (Screenshot)
Federal appeals court appears unlikely to halt Southeast Alaska king trolling for now

A lower-court order that could stop fishing has been placed on hold since last year.

Most Read