If you were fortunate enough to meet former Missouri Congressman Ike Skelton, and got to know him, respect followed. This great American died Monday at age 81. He served 34 years in the U.S. House, representing central and southern Missouri. He was a native of Lexington, Mo. He died at the Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington, Va. He had been hospitalized about a week.
His expertise was in military affairs and national defense. When the Democrats were in control of the House, he chaired for a period the powerful Armed Services Committee, being named to that group in 1981. Rep. Skelton was responsible for the growth of Whiteman Air Force Base and Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri. He had tremendous clout, something Missouri has little of now in the House because of a lack of seniority of our members. The permanent military status of Whiteman and Fort Wood are due to the influence of Ike Skelton.
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