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Head of House Armed Services Committee to visit fort
Sierra Vista Herald/Bisbee Review ^ | Bill Hess

Posted on 11/27/2007 5:07:12 PM PST by SandRat

FORT HUACHUCA — The head of the House Armed Services Committee will visit the post Friday and Saturday.

Isaac Newton “Ike” Skelton IV, the Democratic representative from Missouri’s 4th District, will be coming to the post, and later travel to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, to receive mission briefings and to meet with soldiers and airmen and their families, according to C.J. Karamargin, spokesman for U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, whose 8th Congressional District includes both military installations.

Democrat Giffords, who is a member of the committee, invited the chairman to look at key installations in her district, Karamargin said.

The Missouri congressman has served on the committee since 1980, became the ranking Democratic member of the group in 1998 and assumed the chairmanship in January, after the Democrats retook control of the House and Senate.

According to the committee’s press secretary, Lara Battle, Skelton has visited the fort in the past, but it was several years ago.

“He likes to meet with the leaders and the forces,” she said, noting he makes it part of his routine to go to military installations throughout the nation.

The Missouri congressman’s press secretary, Rebecca Loving, said he is a strong supporter of the military and meets with all ranks when he travels, to find out their views.

Skelton has traveled to some of the hot spots in the world, including Iraq, where in 2005, the vehicle he was riding in overturned and he suffered a neck injury, she said.

The 75-year-old congressman, who is a widower, has served in the House of Representatives since 1977.

He has an associate’s degree from Wentworth Military and Junior College, a bachelor’s degree from the University of Missouri at Columbia, attended the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and earned a law degree from the University of Missouri at Columbia, according the Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress.

He is considered a moderate Democrat, who opposes abortion, gay rights and gun control, but is supportive of labor and is seen as being “more hawkish” than most other Democrats.

He voted for the war in Iraq but has expressed misgivings about the conflict.

According to a Feb. 4 article in U.S. News and World Report magazine, on the eve of the Iraqi invasion in March 2003, Skelton wrote a letter to President Bush, noting he had no doubt that U.S. forces will be victorious, but he also warned “there is great potential for a ragged ending to a war as we deal with the aftermath.”

In the article, the Missouri congressman noted then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld frequently talked about a list he kept about things that could go wrong during the Iraqi War, to which Skelton added, “I have my own list.”

His list included Shiites attacking Sunnis, difficulty in stabilization and reconstruction, and pressure on troop rotations, all of which have happened.

Because he suffered from polio as a youngster, Skelton could not serve in America’s armed forces.

herald/Review senior reporter Bill Hess can be reached at 515-4615 or by e-mail at

TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; Government; Politics/Elections; US: Arizona
KEYWORDS: armed; committee; huachuca; services

1 posted on 11/27/2007 5:07:13 PM PST by SandRat
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