Tester awards service medals to three Montana veterans

Senator’s office helped secure lost medals for World War II, Iraq heroes

(BIG SANDY, Mont.) – Senator Jon Tester this week helped fulfill the nation’s pledge to three Montana veterans, presenting them and their families with medals honoring military service.

Tester, Montana’s only member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, presented Herbert Kindsfater, Nicholas Wells, and the widow of William Schulze with a total of 16 awards for bravery, merit and service.

Tester presented Kindsfater, an 87-year-old Army veteran from Laurel, with the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star, and other awards for his service in the Pacific Theater during World War II. Kindsfater, who recently visited the World War II Memorial in Washington D.C. as part of Montana’s first Honor Flight, fought in the Solomon Islands, New Guinea, and the Philippines.

“On behalf of all Montanans and all Americans, I stand to say thank you for your service to this nation,” Tester said during a ceremony in Billings Thursday.

Tester also presented 26-year-old Nicholas Wells with the Iraq Campaign Medal with two Bronze Service Stars. Wells, a Billings native who began serving with the Army in Iraq in 2005, never received his medal when his service ended.

“This decoration is a powerful symbol of true heroism, sacrifice, and dedication to service,” Tester said to Wells.

Betty Schulze, the widow of World War II veteran William Schulze, accepted multiple awards on behalf of her late husband, who died last year. Schulze and his unit, known as the “Sea-Bees,” built floating bridges from cargo ships to landing areas across the Pacific Theater so that supplies could reach American troops onshore.

“Without Bill’s efforts, our troops would have been left without needed arms and supplies as they battled Japan’s Imperial Army,” said Tester, who also highlighted Schulze’s efforts to help Montana veterans well into his nineties.

Tester’s office often helps veterans whose service awards are lost or never received. More information on Tester’s efforts to help Montana veterans receive their service awards can be found HERE.

Tester also recently made the Purple Heart memorial in Billings more user-friendly for veterans and their families. Read more HERE.