Sen. Tester honored for support of National Guard

by Josh Meny, MTN News

GREAT FALLS – Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) was in Great Falls over the weekend to receive the Sonny Montgomery Medal from the National Guard Association in recognition of his ongoing support for the purposes and objectives of the National Guard.

The award is in memory of Sonny Montgomery who earned a Bronze Star Medal for Valor for being a pivotal player in the capturing of a German machine gun nest in World War II.

Montgomery also returned to active duty in the Korean War, and then went on to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives representing Mississippi for fifteen terms.

Montgomery was the author of the G.I. Bill of Rights, and believed that the country should provide educational benefits to its service members.

Sen. Tester says that in the more than 10 years that he has served in the U.S. Senate he’s worked to improve conditions for Montana guardsmen and active-duty veterans.

His initiatives include providing mileage reimbursements for disabled vets, doubling the number of veterans centers in the state, and increasing programs such as peer-counseling and job training.

Sen. Tester also says he wants to work to get guardsmen and reservists the same range of services that active duty military personnel receive, such as health care, education, and housing.

“Well, I think the next big step is to make sure, as I said in my speech earlier, is to make sure that the guards and reservists, that are utilized in theater and are actively deployed, get the same benefits as our regular military, because they’re doing the same job, so they need to get the same benefits. That’s the next big step,” Sen. Tester said.

As a ranking member of the Veterans Affairs Committee, Tester says there’s a lot more work to be done including improving health care for female veterans. He also says he supports Senator Steve Daines’ (R-MT) efforts in the recent bill to help reimburse service members for mandatory travel expenses.