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Skelton visits wounded American troops at hospital on Thanksgiving
Skelton visits wounded American troops at hospital on Thanksgiving

Congressman Ike Skelton
WASHINGTON, D.C. (Nov. 30, 2009) — Congressman Ike Skelton (D-Mo.), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, and Congressman Howard P. “Buck” McKeon (R-Calif.), the ranking minority member of the House Armed Services Committee, presented a framed statement paying tribute to the excellence and sacrifice of the medical professionals at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, which provides treatment to American soldiers wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan, on Nov. 26. The text of the statement is set forth below.

The statement — part of the official record of the U.S. Congress — was presented during a stop of a bipartisan Congressional delegation to visit wounded service members and those who care for them for Thanksgiving dinner at Landstuhl.

“Today, I was honored not only to celebrate the spirit of Thanksgiving with the brave men and women who were injured while protecting our nation, but with the unsung heroes at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center who play such a critical role in caring for our wounded warriors and bringing them back home,” said Skelton. “Having been a patient at Landstuhl myself following an accident in Iraq in 2005, I can personally attest to the extraordinary care and first class medical treatment provided by the selfless men and women at the medical center.”

“The nation owes a debt of gratitude to the men and women who have served and currently serve at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, as well as throughout the military healthcare system, for the loving care they provide to our wounded military personnel. Because of their dedication and self-sacrifice, thousands of our brave soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines have returned home alive from the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan. The innovation and quality of care within the military medical community is unmatched by any other military in the world or at any other point in our history,” said Skelton.

During the visit to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Skelton hand-delivered letters from students of Missouri’s Fourth Congressional District to wounded soldiers at the medical center.

“It was a privilege to deliver the student letters to our wounded soldiers at Landstuhl. Our nation owes these brave men and women our most profound sense of appreciation for their sacrifices and contributions to our country. I thank the students for extending their support and gratitude to our wounded soldiers. I know it meant a lot to them,” said Skelton.

Landstuhl Regional Medical Center is the largest American hospital outside of the United States, providing comprehensive care to more than 245,000 U.S. military personnel and their families, including the vast majority of troops injured in Afghanistan and Iraq.


Text of the Statement for the Record:

Nov. 4, 2009

Tribute to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center Hospital Personnel


Madam Speaker, I rise today to personally thank and commend the 2,837 personnel —including Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, and Department of Defense civilians and contractors, and coalition liaisons from Canada, Poland, Jordan, and Australia — of the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany.

These dedicated folks do yeoman’s work in providing world class comprehensive care to our warriors wounded in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom and to more than 52,000 American military personnel and their families in the Kaiserslautern Military Community. They also provide specialized care to nearly 245,000 American military personnel and their families throughout the European Theater.

I can personally attest to the phenomenal work done at Landstuhl. During a visit to Iraq over Thanksgiving 2005, Congressman Tim Murphy and I were injured in a motor vehicle accident. After receiving excellent care at the Combat Support Hospital in Baghdad, we were moved by C-17 to Landstuhl. I spent several days in Room 7 of the Intensive Care Unit there. It is not an understatement to say that the care I received was outstanding. I am sure any of our troops who have been treated there and their families would attest to the same.

Along with my committee’s Ranking Member, Buck McKeon, I will soon be leading a Congressional delegation to visit wounded service members and all who care for them at Landstuhl for Thanksgiving dinner. Given the spirit of that holiday, this statement — which I will frame to present to the personnel there — is a fitting tribute to the excellence they deliver every day.

Landstuhl averages over 1,000 total inpatients per month, with a daily average of 20 surgical cases, and 21 admissions and discharges per day. They also bring new life into the world, with an average of three live births per day. They provide specialized care in fields ranging from cardiology to infectious disease to neurology. If it is medically possible, the professionals at Landstuhl make it happen. Our service members know that they and their families will be taken care of.

Perhaps most importantly, though, Landstuhl plays a critical role in caring for our warriors wounded in combat and bringing them back home. After initial treatment in theater, critical care air transport teams bring wounded service members to Landstuhl for stabilization and treatment before being transported to Andrews Air Force Base. The folks at Landstuhl see the vast majority of our wounded and injured in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, and they administer the best that modern medicine has to offer.

I also praise the non-medical services offered at Landstuhl, including liaisons for finance and personnel issues, invitational travel orders for family members and transportation from the airport, issuance of basic civilian clothing and sundry items, and AAFES vouchers and personal shoppers, among other services. This comprehensive care provides the right environment to begin the healing process.

Here, I must also thank those who embody the giving spirit of our nation. I speak, of course, of the selfless service of the American Red Cross volunteers, Fisher House volunteers and staff, and the members of the USO who make themselves available to our service members and their families 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. No need is too big or too small and no problem too difficult for this group. Their perseverance, creativity, and unyielding commitment to helping others have humbled many a hardened warrior, and we are indeed fortunate to have their support.

Madam Speaker, I am proud to know that we have such an immensely capable group of people looking after the health and well-being of service members and their families. As Chairman of the Armed Services Committee and as a former patient, I pay great tribute to the excellence and sacrifice of all who serve at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center. They all deserve our thanks and support.

Congressman Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) serves as chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. Congressman Skelton’s website is at www.house.gov/skelton.

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