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Army Reservist Becomes Chairman of House Military Personnel Panel

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Thursday, December 11, 2014

An Army Reserve brigadier general is the next chairman of the House Armed Services Committee’s subcommittee on military personnel.

               Rep. Joe Heck, R-Nev., an Iraq War veteran, will succeed Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., a former Army Reserve and South Carolina Army National Guard officer, as head of the congressional panel that oversees military personnel policy, health care and benefits.

               Announcement of the new position was made Thursday by Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, who will be House Armed Services Committee chairman in January when the 114th Congress convenes.

               The-53-year-old Heck served in Operation Joint Endeavor, Operation Noble Eagle and Operation Iraqi Freedom. He was promoted to brigadier general in July.

               Heck is a doctor, who specialized in emergency and military medicine, and is an expert on medical support for military special operations forces.

               In the House of Representatives since 2011, Heck is a member of the Army Caucus, Guard and Reserve Caucus and the Doctors Caucus.

               In a statement, Heck said he looks forward to the new leadership post. “For more than 23 years, I have dedicated my career to protecting the morale and welfare of our troops and it has been my life's honor to care for our men and women in uniform as a physician in the U.S. Army Reserve. Chairing the MILPERS subcommittee will allow me to continue that service, just in another capacity,” he said.

               One of the first things Heck will face will be recommendations coming in February from the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission, an independent group working on possible reforms in military pay and benefits. While not referring directly to the commission, Heck said, “We face difficult challenges in the year ahead on military personnel issues, but I look forward to working with all of my colleagues to ensure we continue to provide for our men and women in uniform and their families,” he said.