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GREAT FALLS — The Department of Defense has awarded a Legion of Merit citation to a retired staff sergeant with the Montana Army National Guard.

Staff Sgt. Larry Bowman, 58, received the medal — the sixth-highest award given by the Defense Department — at a retirement ceremony in Great Falls on Wednesday.

In February 2008, he took on a new role with the Montana Army National Guard as coordinator of the Heritage Outreach Project. In that post, he traveled across the state teaching military history lessons to students.

Bowman said he joined the Air Force in 1969 because he wanted to help people. He served two tours in Vietnam, spent extensive time overseas during his military career and joined the Montana Army National Guard in 2001. Bowman then served during the Iraq war, where he was awarded two Purple Hearts, and was a platoon sergeant during Hurricane Katrina recovery efforts. He also has been awarded a Bronze Star and the Army Commendation Medal during his career.

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