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The American Legion in Choteau honors its first female commander

Sharon Hoyt
Sharon Hoyt
Sharon Hoyt
Posted at 10:06 AM, Mar 08, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-08 12:12:26-05

CHOTEAU — The American Legion Club in Choteau is recognizing one of its members - Sharon Hoyt - with a uniform induction ceremony on Saturday, March 9, 2024, at 2pm (link). The event is also in honor of Women’s History Month and will include a food truck, women-owned small business vendors, and musical acts performing throughout the duration of the event.

Sharon Hoyt joined the Navy in 1980 at the age of 26. Before enlisting she was living in Choteau, divorced, working days at the grocery store and nights at the Wagon Wheel bar. Hoyt said that she knew she needed a career, and the Navy was the perfect fit for her.

Hoyt’s career allowed her to travel, get an education, and experience firsthand changes that were happening for women in the military.

“As we all know the military has always been men and so it was hard for everybody to adjust. But when you have good senior personnel leading you, it makes it all easier. I never, ever once had any kind of problem in the military with any type of harassment whatsoever. All of my supervisors always backed me in whatever I did” Hoyt explained.

Hoyt told MTN she felt the Navy and her supervisors did a great job at treating her like an equal during her 22 years of service.

Sharon Hoyt

In 2003 Hoyt retired and moved back home to Choteau where she eventually joined the American Legion. The Legion is a non-profit organization dedicated to veterans across the country. The American Legion has nearly 2 million members and 12,000 posts. The post in Choteau, post number 6, is an open post.

“An open post is where, because we have the bar, anybody can come in. There are closed posts. That’s where you can't come in, have to have been a former or an active duty military person,” Hoyt explained.

When talking with Hoyt, one thing she emphasized to me was how the military taught her the importance of community service. She continues that work in Choteau at the Legion, and it doesn’t go unnoticed.

Sharon Hoyt

“She’s done a lot of stuff here and to be the only women kind of playing that role around here, it’s just commemorable,” bar manager Angel Cooke explained.

It was Cooke’s idea to induct Hoyt’s uniform into the club. It will be one of three uniforms there and the first female uniform.

“I think that a female uniform needs to be here and I’m very lucky and very proud of my service record. I am glad my uniform is going to be the first female uniform here,” Hoyt explained.

Angel Cooke
Angel Cooke

Proceeds from the event will go towards the Women’s Foundation of Montana.