Solomon Atkinson, originally from an Alaskan fishing village, was one of the first 60 Navy SEALs, trained astronauts, and earned a Purple Heart during the Vietnam War. After his military career, Atkinson overcame personal challenges, served as the mayor of his hometown, Metlakatla, and became a strong advocate for veterans in his community until his death in 2019.
- Solomon Atkinson’s military career was distinguished, from being a plank holder for SEAL Team 1 to training the first astronauts in the Apollo and Gemini programs.
- In Vietnam, Atkinson was involved in a jungle ambush where a claymore was mistakenly attached to a rotten tree, injuring him and another SEAL.
- Beyond combat, Atkinson had secret missions that included training Green Light Teams to deploy portable nuclear bombs in Eastern Europe.
- After retiring in 1973, Atkinson battled alcoholism but found solace in Christianity, becoming a key figure in his community and serving as mayor from 1978 to 2001.
- Atkinson was passionate about assisting fellow veterans, founding the Metlakatla Veterans Association and aiding in the completion of VA paperwork for local veterans.