Al Hershberger

Sabine Poux/KDLL

Soldotna resident Al Hershberger was just 18 when he enlisted in World War II. He was part of a field artillery battalion of almost 80 Americans that helped on the frontlines of the war in Europe in the early 1940s.

Now, at 95, Hershberger he thinks he’s the last surviving member of his battalion. We spoke with him about what Memorial Day means to him, how he reconnected with members of his battalion later in life and what it was like revisiting Germany as an adult.

Progress Days salute Soldotna's recent history

Jul 29, 2019
Shaylon Cochran/KDLL

Soldotna’s 62nd annual Progress Days celebration took place over the weekend. A new tradition for the even started last year, with the recognition of one of the city’s longtime residents as the weekend’s grand marshall. This year, Al Hershberger was selected for those duties by the Soldotna Historical Society.




Jenny Neyman/KDLL

How far back does your memory of Soldotna go? Do you recall the old two-lane Sterling Highway bridge over the Kenai River, before the current one was finished in 2007? How about the one before that, started in 1948, when the Alaska Road Commission was just beginning to push the Sterling Highway on toward Kasilof?

Al Hershberger does. That first bridge is what brought him to Soldotna.