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Governor honors military veterans in Great Falls

Posted at 5:49 AM, Jul 11, 2024

Governor Greg Gianforte honored four military veterans in Great Falls on Tuesday, July 9, 2024, presenting them with the 2023 Veteran’s Commendation Award for their service to the nation and community.

"Veterans and their families have sacrificed so much in defense of our freedoms,” Gianforte said in a news release. “Thanks to them, we live in the greatest country on Earth. There are also veterans who have kept the flame of service alive, even after their time in the military and these gentlemen are a true testament to that.”

Honoring U.S. Air Force veterans Roger Hagan and Eric Peterson and U.S. Army veterans Carlos Diaz and Joseph Gusick during a ceremony at the Veterans Memorial in Legion Park, the governor presented each with a Montana state flag that was flown over the Montana State Capitol in their honor and a letter thanking them for their service.

Inviting each to receive their award and share a few words, the governor and family members in attendance heard of their lives of service.

Recognizing Master Sergeant Roger Hagan for his service in the U.S Army for 38 years, the governor outlined his awards and recognitions from the military as well as his commitment to community. As an advocate for the Montana Department of the American Legion, Hagan has dedicated years of advocacy for military and veteran groups in Montana.

Highlighting Corporal Joseph Gusik for his service in the Korean War, the governor spoke to Gusik’s work with the Atomic Energy Commission at Fort Hauachuca and his continued service to the local veteran community.

Speaking about the honor of receiving the award and his commitment to the Great Falls community after his military service, Senior Master Sergeant Eric Peterson said, “Those of us who served in uniform, when we retire, I think we all want to continue serving our community in one way or another. These were just some things I found, I fell into and I really enjoy continuing to help the community.”

The Montana Governor’s Veteran Commendation recognizes outstanding Montana veterans who have selflessly served our country in uniform and made a positive impact in their community. 31 veterans received the award in 2021 and 51 veterans received the award in 2022.

Here is the full list of 2023 honorees:

  • Joseph Murnion of Jordan – U.S. Army, Vietnam War
  • Charles Noland of Worden – U.S. Army, 1969-2007
  • Melvin Kieninger of Butte – U.S. Army, Vietnam War
  • Robert Chansler of Butte – U.S. Marine Corps, 1983-1987
  • Daniel Kohr of Butte – U.S. Army, 1968-1982
  • Gordon Doig of White Sulphur Springs – U.S. Marine Corps, Vietnam War
  • Jason Burr of Red Lodge – U.S. Army, 1990-2005
  • Dustin Andersen of Kalispell – U.S. Marine Corps, 2003-2007
  • Thomas Bianco of Fortine – U.S. Army, 1984-1991
  • Carlos Diaz of Simms – U.S. Army, 2001-2022
  • Jerry Erickson of Troy – U.S. Army, Vietnam War
  • Sean Gifford of Three Forks – U.S. Army, 1999-2020
  • Gerald “Jerry” Glaser of Glendive – U.S. Army, Vietnam War
  • Joseph Gusik of Great falls – U.S. Army, 1950-1953
  • Roger Hagan of Great Falls – U.S. Airforce, 1968-2006
  • Richard Hardy of Stevensville – U.S Navy, Vietnam War
  • Melvin "Fitch" Hons of Scobey – U.S. Air Force, 1963-1967
  • Clinton “Clint” Jacobs of Culbertson – U.S. Marine Corps, Vietnam War
  • Chante Japp of Wolf Point – U.S. Army, 2007-2013
  • James R. Johnson of Kalispell – U.S. Army, Vietnam War
  • Lonnie Johnson of Plentywood – U.S. Army, 1992-1999
  • Nicholas Jones of Belgrade – U.S. Marine Corps, 2010-2021
  • Mike Lowry of Helena – U.S. Army, Vietnam War
  • Webb Mandeville of Columbus – U.S. Army, 1972-1974
  • Mahlon Manson of Alberton – U.S. Army, Vietnam War
  • Lori Anne Mathieu of Somers – U.S. Coast Guard, 1985-2023
  • David McCann of Helena – U.S Navy, Vietnam War
  • Charles Neal of Helena – U.S. Army, Vietnam War
  • Eric Peterson of Great Falls – U.S. Air Force, 1980-2018
  • Bob L. Radcliffe of Townsend – U.S. Army, Vietnam War
  • Richard Reed of Victor – U.S. Marine Corps, 1991-2022
  • Stephen Sirois of Sunburst – U.S. Army, 2002-2005
  • Karl Swartz of Miles City – U.S. Army, 1994-2019
  • Thomas Teasdale of Anaconda – U.S. Army, Vietnam
  • Henry Tuell III of Red Lodge – U.S. Army, Vietnam War
  • John Zeitz of Lolo – U.S. Army, 1998-2012
  • Wayne R Sand of Essex - U.S. Navy, Vietnam
  • Douglas R Denson of Twin Bridges - U.S. Army, Vietnam
  • Dennis Peterson of Lincoln - U.S. Army, Vietnam

Click here to learn more about the honors.