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Gifford presented with Montana Governor's Veteran Commendation

At a ceremony last week, former Three Forks Mayor Sean Gifford was presented with the 2023 Montana Governor's Veteran Commendation.

“I’m humbled and honored by this award, but the true honor was the ability to serve and protect our country and my local community with some of the finest men and women I know," Gifford said.

In November 2023, Gifford was one of 36 selected for the commendation, which recognizes outstanding Montana veterans who have selflessly served our country in uniform and made a positive impact in their community. Montana Governor Greg Gianforte presented Gifford with the commendation award on June 26, 2023, at Sawdust and Steel Brewing in Three Forks.

“Giving back and serving our neighbors is part of who we are as Montanans,” Gianforte said. “It’s an honor to recognize Sergeant Major Gifford as an exceptional member of the Three Forks community and as a veteran who embodies the values and commitment to service that define our state and way of life.”

Gifford is a retired Sergeant Major in the 19th Special Forces Group (Airborne). In 1999, he enlisted in the Army and, after completing basic training and airborne school, was assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division. His next assignment was support with the 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne). In 2005, Gifford completed Special Forces Selection and Assessment. After completing the Special Forces Qualification Course, he was assigned to the 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) as a Weapons Sergeant.

In 2010, Gifford left active duty and joined the Utah Army National Guard's 19th Special Forces Group (Airborne). Gifford served as a Special Forces Operational Detachment - Alpha Operations Sergeant, and Special Forces Sergeant Major. His operational deployments include Iraqi Freedom, Inherent Resolve, Enduring Freedom, and Freedom's Sentinel-Resolute Support Mission.

Gifford is a graduate of the Special Forces Qualification Course, Airborne, Air Assault, and Static Line Jumpmaster. His decorations include the Bronze Star with "V" device for valor, two Bronze Star medals, one Purple Heart, one Meritorious Service Medal, and the Combat Infantryman's Badge.

Gifford was honored for his service in July 2020 at a special retirement ceremony at Veteran's Park in Three Forks.

Utah National Guard Brigadier General Michael J. Turley and Command Sergeant Major Jason Legler were among those in attendance at the ceremony.

Turley said it was an honor to come from Utah for the event and told Gifford he should be proud of what he had done during his 21 years of service and take that with him for the rest of his life.

Legler said Gifford has given a lot to the nation, and he felt it was important to come to the ceremony in Three Forks. He added that Gifford is a professional, and it does not surprise him at all that he would become Mayor.

Turley added Gifford is a heroic man and is in awe of what he was able to do during his career.

"All good things in life, you have earned...You are what makes America great, and you should never forget that," he said.

During the 2020 ceremony, Gifford was presented with a Meritorious Service Medal, a Certificate from the Utah National Guard, a Certificate from Utah Governor Gary Herbert, a Certificate from the President of the United States and Commander in Chief Donald Trump, Solider for Life Award and a Certificate of Retirement.

Turley said that Gifford is a soldier that men and women look up to and will follow anytime into battle.

In 2019, he was appointed to fill the vacant seat of former Mayor Steven Hamilton. He would serve as Mayor of the City of Three Forks until the end of 2021.