Great Falls Vietnam Veteran Honored with Tester-Backed Legislation

Bill would add Seaman Apprentice William Field & 73 others to Vietnam Memorial Wall

(U.S. Senate) – U.S. Senator Jon Tester is backing bipartisan legislation to honor a Great Falls Vietnam veteran who died during the sinking of the USS Frank E. Evans.

Seaman Apprentice William Fields died when the USS Frank E. Evans sank during the Vietnam War in the South China Sea on June 3, 1969. Because the ship was just outside the conflict boundary zone, Fields and his 73 crewmates were not initially included on the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington D.C. The Tester-backed USS Frank E. Evans Act aims to fix that.

“These young sailors paid the ultimate sacrifice to protect the freedoms we’ve been blessed to enjoy,” said Tester, Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee. “This bill ensures that Seaman Apprentice Fields and his crewmates-and their bravery on their country’s behalf-are forever remembered as heroes of the Vietnam War.”

Fields was born in Great Falls, where his father served in the U.S. Air Force. He reported aboard the USS Frank E. Evans just 17 days before the ship sank. He was 19 years old.

Tester has fought tirelessly to make sure Vietnam Veterans get the recognition and benefits they deserve. He’s pushing to guarantee that veterans exposed to toxins such as Agent Orange while serving off the coast of Vietnam can access treatment and receive benefits from the VA. He’s also holding the VA accountable by stepping up oversight of the VA MISSION Act implementation process and electronic health record modernization.

Tester also recently introduced landmark, bipartisan legislation to improve veterans’ access to mental health care and make sure no more veterans are lost to suicide.

More information about Tester’s work on behalf of veterans is available HERE