June 16, 2009 — FORT GREELY — It has long been 15-year-old Kayla Collyer-Platzer’s dream to follow in her sister’s footsteps and join the Army.

And when Nicole Vandall heard last month that her sister Kayla had been diagnosed with stage three Hodgkin’s lymphoma, she wasn’t going to let that get in the way of the teen’s dream.

When Vandall, station at Fort Greely, told her commanders about the situation, they jumped at the chance to make Kayla a soldier for a day. Randall initially made the trip sound like it would be a normal family visit in order to surprise Kayla. After getting the OK from her doctor, the Pennsylvania high school student and her mother, Deborah Platzer, flew 4,000 miles to Alaska for the ultimate surprise.

“I told her she was going to be my secretary for the day,” Vandall said. “She thought she was going to run back and forth to the copier.”

What “Corporal” Kayla found instead was the ultimate Army experience. She was given a set of fatigues with her name on them, she practiced physical training in the morning and got to shoot an M4 carbine.


June 16, 1994 — A man allegedly fatally shot his former roommate in the chest with a .357-caliber revolver during an argument outside a Haystack Mountain area cabin early Wednesday morning, Alaska State Troopers said.

The shooting victim was pronounced dead at Fairbanks Memorial Hospital, 1st Sgt. Michael Corkill said. Troopers are not releasing the dead man’s name until his family is notified. No arrests have been made. The case is under investigation.

Cornell declined to comment on whether the shooting came in selfdefense or if any threats had been made by either man before the shooting.


June 16, 1969 — A blistering, record-breaking 96 degrees was recorded yesterday at Fairbanks International Airport, and there’s more to come, the weather bureau says.

A high this afternoon of 90 to 95, another record, was forecast.

The 96 degree figure is the highest ever recorded in June, and the highest ever recorded at the airport. An unofficial 99-degree reading was recorded in July of 1919, apparently at the College experimental station.

The previous record for June was 92 in 1958.


June 16, 1944 — JUNEAU — Seventy-five per cent of the inhabitants of the village of Hoonah on Chilchigof island were reported homeless today after fire swept wildly through the village last night.

One native, John Smith, was known to have perished in the flames and another was believed missing.

Replacement value of the property was estimated in excess of $350,000. The fire destroyed all the stores, the government teachers’ quarters and the church and reached near the Union Oil Company dock, but the gasoline was not ignited. The cannery located outside the town escaped damage.

The fire was scattered through the village by burning dry moss blowing from roofs of the burning structures. Deputy U. S. Marshal Walter Hellan said the fire started when a woman used gasoline instead of kerosene to speed the starting of a fire for drying fish under her stilted house.