Some elite warriors were in town, and the Montana Wildlife Federation (MWF) took them fishing.
Veterans of a Marine Corps Force Recon unit held a joint reunion with veterans of a Marine battalion recon unit last week in Missoula. Among them was Butch Waddill of the Bitterroot Valley who, last year, was awarded a long-overdue Silver Star from Sen. Jon Tester for heroic actions in Vietnam. Waddill helped organize the reunion, which includes Marine Recon veterans from all over the nation.
“We wanted to show our appreciation and do something special for these courageous men,” says Dave Stalling, Western Montana Field Representative for the Montana Wildlife Federation. “What better way to do that in June in Montana than to take them fishing?” The group also spent a day rafting on the Blackfoot River.
With help from MWF’s Missoula affiliate Hellgate Hunters and Anglers, and guides and gear from the Kingfisher Fly Shop, the veterans fished a section of the Clark Fork River below Missoula on Sunday, June 19th. Guides Matt “Doc” Davies and Andy Roy did an excellent job helping the veterans get into and land some nice rainbow trout.
On Monday, June 20th, the veterans rafted down the Blackfoot River, thanks to help from rafter Tim Ibey of Ibey Sprinkler, Landscape, and Nursery in Missoula, and Bill Stroud, creater and owner of River Rat Maps and Bear Creek Map Works in Victor,
“We have tremendous respect and admiration for the ‘above-and-beyond’ service and sacrifices of these veterans,” Stalling says. “It was an honor and privilege introducing them to some of Montana’s great rivers.”