The Annual Salute to the Military got its start in the form of multiple Service Balls hosted by the local Navy League. In 1977, the Navy League, with the support of Senator Ted Stevens, worked with the Armed Services YMCA to create one annual event to honor all service branches, and promote community awareness of military performance and service. Since that time, the Annual Salute to the Military has become one of the longest running annual events hosted by a non-profit organization, thanks to the tremendous support of the Anchorage community and military leadership. Each year, twelve exceptional enlisted service members, representing each of the Active Duty branches, the Guard, and Reserve, are recognized for their outstanding achievements. Additionally, the Armed Services YMCA of Alaska honors one Alaska Military Spouse of the year and the Bobby Alexander Civic Leader of the Year.