Governor's son enlists on Sept. 11

Peter Porco

Alaska's first son will soon trade his hockey uniform for khaki.

Track Palin, son of Gov. Sarah Palin, enlisted Tuesday to become an infantryman in the U.S. Army, the governor's office said Wednesday.

The 18-year-old graduate of Wasilla High School will report for basic training Tuesday at Fort Benning, Ga., said spokeswoman Sharon Leighow.

The oldest of four children of the governor and Todd Palin, and their only son, Track signed up at the Army's recruiting office in Wasilla, where the Palin family lives.

The recruiting office would not discuss details of the enlistment, Sgt. 1st Class Michael Nagl, the station commander, said Wednesday.

The mission of the Fort Benning infantry divisions is "to focus on the close, personal, violent Infantry fight," Maj. Gen. Walter Wojdakowski, the chief of infantry, says on the post's Web site.

Infantrymen trained at Fort Benning may be assigned to any infantry unit and posted to any U.S. installation in the world, depending on the timing, a Pentagon spokesman said.

"He could be going to Korea for a year, or he could go to Germany for a year," said spokesman Cmdr. J.D. Gordon.

Right now, all infantry units eventually spend a tour of duty in the Middle East, Gordon said.

Track is a former Alaska All Stars hockey player who also played junior hockey in Michigan during part of his senior year, according to Leighow.

The reasons why he enlisted and why he signed his military contract on the sixth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks were unavailable Wednesday.

The governor declined Wednesday to comment. The Palin family wants to keep private some aspects of his decision, Leighow said. Track was adamant about not wanting publicity, according to Nagl.

The teenager joined up with a good friend and classmate, John Bates, Leighow said. Track will receive a signing bonus but the amount was unclear, she said.

Through Leighow, Track said: "Joining the military is something I've been considering for a while now. I've always been competitive and look forward to the challenges that will come as I answer the call and serve my country."

The governor visited Kuwait in July and spent time with an Alaska Army National Guard unit. While there, she said her son had been talking about joining the military and she was willing for him to do it.

Find Peter Porco online at or call 257-4582.

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