Gov. Gianforte honors veterans at Missoula ceremony

David Erickson

The U.S. Navy fed Ron “Rondo” Scharfe and his fellow sailors a breakfast of steak and eggs at 3 a.m. on Feb. 19, 1945, to prepare them for the long day ahead of them.

They were joining the U.S. Marine Corps to try to capture the island of Iwo Jima from the Japanese army that day, and it would become one of the most infamous and bloody battles of the Pacific theater of WWII.

Few ate more than a couple bites.

“Nobody had the stomach for it,” Scharfe recalled.

Scharfe and four other U.S. military veterans were honored with the 2021 Montana Governor’s Veteran Commendation on Wednesday at the Ole Beck VFW Post 209 in Missoula.

Gov. Greg Gianforte presented the awards and spoke about each veteran.

Anton Johnson, the commander of the VFW Post, was recognized first.

“Anton, in his time as a U.S. Army combat engineer, proudly served our nation for eight years during Operation Enduring Freedom,” Gianforte said. “During his military service he paved the way to success for his brothers in arms, and after being discharged in 2009, his mission did not change.”

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