Fort Hood Victim Had Montana Ties

By Beacon Staff

BILLINGS – One of the 13 people killed by a gunman at Fort Hood in Texas was a physician’s assistant who served in the Montana Army National Guard for many years, his family said.

Michael Grant Cahill of Cameron, Texas, and his wife Joleen, who was born and raised in Roundup, lived in Montana for 15 years.

Cahill, 62, worked at hospitals in Boulder and Great Falls and at the Veterans Affairs Clinic in Billings. He also served in the Montana Army National Guard with units in Havre, Helena and Bozeman from 1973 to 1987.

“Some of the happiest times we had was up at the family cabin outside of White Sulphur,” Mrs. Cahill told The Billings Gazette on Sunday.

Cahill suffered a heart attack three weeks ago but quickly recovered and returned to work at Fort Hood, where he was a civilian contractor, treating soldiers preparing to deploy or returning from tours.

“Even though he never served in combat himself, he knew a lot of people who did and he was able to help people deal with issues related to it,” said his son, James Cahill. “He made it a point to be with each of these people as a human being.”

Cahill had worked for about four years at Fort Hood, where authorities say Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan fired off more than 100 rounds Thursday at a soldier processing center, killing 13 and wounding 29 before civilian police shot him.

Mrs. Cahill said they had started making retirement plans.

“We loved being in Montana,” she said. “That’s why we were planning to return when he retired.”

She said the family hopes to hold an internment for her husband at a veterans’ cemetery in Montana in May.

Cahill is survived by his wife, son and daughters Keely Vanacker and Kerry Cahill.