Washington, D.C. – House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-MO) spent the Christmas holiday with American troops in Iraq.  While in Iraq, Skelton met with members of the Missouri National Guard, the 1st Cavalry Division, the 3rd Infantry Division, and the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force.  Upon his return to the United States, Skelton released the following statement:

    “Being with the troops on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day gave me the opportunity to personally thank them for their service to our country.  I was impressed by the dedication and professionalism of our American forces.”

    “I witnessed two significant developments in Iraq.  First, the American military leadership is better than ever, from our senior non-commissioned officers to our Commanding General, David Petraeus.  Second, our troops have become expert in fighting the insurgents, after extensive experience in counter-guerrilla warfare.  Our forces have succeeded in bringing greater security to Iraq. The Iraqi government must now step up politically and seize these gains so hard fought for them by our brave American troops,” said Skelton.

    Skelton, who led a six member bipartisan delegation from U.S. House of Representatives, was accompanied by Congressman J. Randy Forbes (R-VA), Congressman Eliot L. Engel (D-NY), Congresswoman Shelley Berkley (D-NV), Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-MN), and Congresswoman Nancy E. Boyda (D-KS).