Antlers aweigh! Alaska moose sails off with USS Anchorage

Mike Dunham
Bill Roth

Anchorage resident Lex Patten donated a shoulder mount moose head to the USS Anchorage before its departure from the city on Monday. The Navy's newest warship, an amphibious transport dock, was in port for its commissioning ceremony, which took place on May 4. Patten said the gift was in honor of his late father, a World War II Navy veteran.

Allen Patten and his brothers were assigned to the battleship Nevada during the attack on Pearl Harbor. He was then transferred to the aircraft carrier Lexington, which was sunk in the Battle of the Coral Sea. He also served on the USS Enterprise and took part in the battles of the Philippine Sea and Leyte Gulf. He retired from the Navy and moved to Alaska in 1962. He died in 2004.

Lex Patten said he shot the moose in the McGrath area in 1990. "It was the last moose hunt I went on with my dad. He insisted on packing out the antlers, about a mile, and he did. He was 73 at the time."

The moose head, one of several Alaska wild animal trophies given to the USS Anchorage by Alaskans, was previously displayed at the Sportsman's Warehouse in Anchorage.

Lex Patten said the antlers spread nearly 65 inches and the whole mount weighs about 100 pounds. He wasn't sure where the moose would be displayed on board the ship.

"But the captain is quite an outdoorsman," he said. "I guess he has a plan for where to put it where it will be seen by anyone visiting the ship."