Where to find facilities:
VA Montana has primary care clinics in Anaconda, Billings, Bozeman, Miles City, Glendive, Glasgow, Great Falls, Missoula, Kalispell and Cut Bank, which opened Jan. 7 and a new facility will soon be opening in Havre.
These toll-free hotlines offer immediate help:
• VA National Suicide Prevention Hotline
• National Guard Military One Source
• National VA Nurse Line (for health information)
866-369-8020. This number is answered 24/7.
To enroll in VA health care, call 406-447-7325 or toll-free 877-468-837 during week days to reach Fort Harrison in Helena. After hours, call 406-442-6410 and ask for the medical duty officer.
Malmstrom airman sentenced for fatal shooting
By The Associated Press
GREAT FALLS - An airman who pleaded no contest to negligent homicide for the fatal shooting of a fellow Air Force member was given a 20-year suspended prison sentence Wednesday.
Jonathan Higgins, 23, appeared in Cascade County District Court for the May 5 death of 20-year-old John Howry, of Silverdale, Wash. Higgins, who was ordered to spend 100 hours a year talking to students about gun safety, will be on probation for the next 20 years. If he violates the terms, he could end up serving part or all of the sentence.
The men, who worked together at Malmstrom Air Force Base, had been drinking at a barbecue in Great Falls when witnesses said Howry took out a knife, joking that he was going to shave Higgins. Higgins took a gun from his waistband and shot Howry in the abdomen.
"There are no words I can use that would accurately describe the regret and remorse I have for my actions on May 5, 2008," Higgins said. "I do apologize to his family and friends for the pain, agony and chaos I have put them through."
Howry's family traveled from the Seattle area to push for a lengthy prison sentence, but District Judge Julie Macek said Higgins' military service, lack of any criminal record and general integrity were factors in her decision.
Higgins received the Purple Heart and Air Force Combat Action Medal in February 2008 for his service in Iraq. He earned the awards in April 2007 when a roadside bomb struck the Humvee in which he was riding.
Howry was posthumously promoted to the rank of Airman First Class.
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