Our nation and our Army have lost two champions with the passing of Representatives Ike Skelton and C.W. “Bill” Young. Their combined service in the House of Representatives totaled almost 77 years. Their contribution to national defense and to military personnel is inestimable.
Rep. Skelton was elected to Congress in 1976 and rose to become chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. Rep. Young was elected in 1970 and rose to become chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. Both worked in a bipartisan fashion to fund a robust national defense and moved legislation to boost the readiness of America’s armed forces and enhance the way our nation treats its men and women in uniform and the families by their side. They were both tireless advocates for increasing the quality of life of the men and women who serve in the military. Because of their leadership, Congress invested in improved base housing, better medical care, increased pay and more modern equipment for our Army.
Both men had “skin in the game”, Rep. Skelton had children in military service and Rep. Young served in the Army National Guard for nine years. Rep. Young and his wife were a constant presence at Walter Reed Army Medical Center visiting with wounded warriors and their families.
Ike Skelton and Bill Young were legislators who were thoughtful and anxious to consider the views of all. Our nation could use more like them in these perilous and partisan times. Their leadership was a bright light in dark times. We will miss them.