President Barack Obama has signed legislation changing the name of the Armed Forces Readiness Center in Great Falls to the Capt. John E. Moran and Capt. William Galt Armed Forces Reserve Center to honor the Montana men who received the Medal of Honor.
Both houses of Congress passed legislation for the name change earlier this spring.
Moran served in the Army’s 37th Infantry during the Philippine-American War and was awarded the Medal of Honor in 1910 and died in Great Falls in 1930. Galt of Great Falls served in the Army’s 34th Infantry during World War II and was awarded the Medal of Honor in 1945 after he was killed in action in Italy.
The Senate bill was sponsored by Sen. Jon Tester, a Democrat, and Republican Sen. Steve Daines was a co-sponsor. Republican Rep. Ryan Zinke sponsored the House bill.
Moran was born in Vermont on Aug. 23, 1856. He later moved to Montana, where he joined the Army. On Sept. 17, 1900, Moran and his soldiers came under siege and after beating back their attackers, Moran advanced with a group of troops, through waist-deep water and heavy fire, to stage a counterattack on the enemy, according to the Montana congressional offices.
After the war, he was elected county clerk and recorder of Cascade County.
Galt was born in Great Falls on Dec. 19, 1919. While serving in Italy, he commanded multiple attacks against German forces. It was during one of these attacks that Galt advanced under heavy fire, manning the machine gun in the turret of a tank destroyer, and killed 40 German soldiers and wounded dozens of others.
Galt was fully exposed in the turret and eventually succumbed to enemy fire and was killed in action that day, May 29, 1944. For his acts of “gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty,” according to the award citation, Galt was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor in 1945.
Galt previously had a Great Falls facility named for him as the Galt Hall Army Reserve Center, located on Gore Hill and named for Galt in 1958.
It was closed after the 2005 base realignment and closure actions.