(U.S. Senate) – Chairman Jon Tester of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee took to the Senate floor today in support of designating a state funeral in honor of the last surviving Medal of Honor recipient from World War II (WWII), as well as to recognize five Montana Medal of Honor Recipients for their service and sacrifice during the war.
“The Medal of Honor represents a small token of our appreciation for the spirit, determination, and gallantry of those who performed far beyond the call of duty—those of our Greatest Generation who gave everything on the battlefield,” said Tester. “This includes five brave Medal of Honor recipients from Montana who pitted bravery and heroism against great odds and showed exemplary devotion to our nation.”
He continued, “It is my hope that President Biden designates this state funeral so we may honor the last surviving Medal of Honor recipient from World War II with this distinction. It is time to pay a final salute to the millions of men and women of our Greatest Generation who served our country with great courage.”
Tester recognized the following five Medal of Honor recipients from Montana:
Captain William W. Galt, U.S. Army – Great Falls, Montana
William Galt was born in Geyser, Montana in Judith Basin County. He joined the U.S. Army during World War II, and in 1944 lost his life in the line of duty after personally leading his battalion against the Germans in the Battle of Villa Crocetta in Italy. He received the Medal of Honor posthumously in 1945 and was laid to rest in Mount Olivet Cemetery in Great Falls.
Technician Fourth Grade Laverne Parrish, U.S. Army – Ronan, Montana
Laverne Parrish was born in Knox City, Missouri and raised in Pablo, Montana. In 1945, he treated all 27 causalities in his company at the cost of his own life during the fighting in Binalonan, Luzon, Philippine Islands. He was presented the Medal of Honor posthumously by President Harry S. Truman at the White House, and laid to rest in Mountain View Cemetery in Ronan, Montana.
Sergeant Leo J. Powers, U.S. Army – Butte, Montana
Leo Powers was a 35-year-old sheep farmer from Alder Gulch, Montana when he answered the call to duty and joined the Army in World War II where he singlehandedly disarmed the backbone of a heavily defended, strategic enemy position and enabled his regiment to advance into the city of Cassino, Italy. He was presented the Medal of Honor by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1945. He died in 1967 and was laid to rest in the Holy Cross Cemetery in Butte, Montana.
Private First Class Donald J. Ruhl, U.S. Marine Corps – Stillwater, Montana
Donald J. Ruhl was born in Columbus, Montana. He enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserve in Butte, Montana and went on to serve as a Private First Class. During his service, he sacrificed his own life to save the lives of his fellow Marines at Iwo Jima. His parents accepted his Medal of Honor on his behalf, and he is buried in Greybull, Wyoming in the Hillside Cemetery.
Technical Sergeant Henry Schauer, U.S. Army – Scobey, Montana
Henry Schauer joined the Army from Scobey, Montana. He served as a Private First Class and was deployed in Italy. Schauer singlehandedly engaged German snipers who opened fire on his company patrol in combat in Italy and disabled machine gun emplacements. He died in 1997 and was buried in the City View Cemetery in Salem, Oregon.
Earlier this year, Tester joined U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Shelley Moore Capito (R- W.Va.) and Mitt Romney (R-Utah) in reintroducing a bipartisan resolution requesting a state funeral and authorizing the use of the Capitol rotunda for the last surviving WWII Medal of Honor recipient. Tester led Montana’s Congressional delegation in a similar request in July.