Flag at half-staff. File photo
Edward O'Brien

All across the state, many people are taking some time to honor the sacrifices of America’s veterans. Steve Jess attended one of the services, in the capital city.

Senator Jon Tester was in Missoula on Veterans day. He released a report he calls the “State of Veterans in Montana,” that looks at vets’ ability to access Veterans Administration health care. Tester says there are now some more VA clinics in Montana.

09/27/2015 - An American Radioworks education documentary - The longest war in American history is drawing to a close. Now, the men and women who served are coming home, and many hope to use higher education to build new, better lives. They have help from the Post-9/11 GI Bill, a piece of legislation that many advocates say offers more support to returning veterans than any policy since the original GI Bill of 1944.

The remains of six veterans whose unclaimed remains were found at a Great Falls funeral home will be interred later this week.

They'll be laid to rest Friday at the Montana State Veterans Cemetery at Fort Harrison in Helena.

Eric Whitney

More than two hundred people gathered at the Western Montana State Veterans Cemetery in Missoula to mark Memorial day. It was one of dozens of ceremonies across the state.

The remains of six Montana veterans will go to their final resting place next month, in the state veterans cemetery at Fort Harrison. Steve Jess reports that it’s part of a nationwide effort to find the unclaimed ashes of service members, and give them the burial they deserve.

Keiko Sagami

As veterans get older, expenses start to add up. Especially nursing home care, when all they really need is some help at home. So now, one Missoula pilot program that does that is expanding to other parts of Montana.

It helps people like Eugene Hertz. He’s an 83-year-old Korean War veteran. He’s got a bad back, and his doctors don’t want him doing very much because of it. That really gets on his nerves, and means that his wife Joann has to do a lot of the housework. 

U.S. Senator Jon Tester and Veteran’s Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald are on a two-day tour of the state, visiting VA facilities in Helena, Missoula, and Billings.

Tuesday morning they were at Fort Harrison in Helena. McDonald says it’s the 120th VA facility he’s toured since taking over the troubled agency last July. 

McDonald and Tester sat down with about one hundred veterans and active service members, along with representatives of a range of interest groups, for a round-table discussion.

Veterans' Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald is hearing a range of concerns about his agency’s performance on a two-day tour of VA facilities in Montana.

With Senator Jon Tester at his side, VA secretary McDonald listened to representatives of various groups, from mental health advocates to the American Legion, spell out what the VA needs to do to better serve the thousands of veterans across the state. He said the fact that Montana’s VA Health Care System went without a permanent director for eight months is a symptom of the problems his agency is facing.


The acting director of veterans health care in Montana is on the defensive after Senator Jon Tester said the VA health center in Helena is temporarily closing its inpatient mental health unit.

In a letter to VA Secretary Robert McDonald in Washington, Tester said, “staffing levels at the VA in Montana are at the point where it can no longer safely staff the eight bed acute inpatient section of the mental health facility at Ft. Harrison” in Helena.

Johnny Ginnity, acting director at Ft. Harrison says, that doesn’t mean the mental health ward is being closed.