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Incoming Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler tours Fort Leonard Wood
Incoming Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler tours Fort Leonard Wood

Vicky Hartzler
FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. (Dec. 1, 2010) — Incoming Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler, a Republican who defeated House Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Ike Skelton, toured Fort Leonard Wood on Tuesday, following up on an earlier tour of Whiteman Air Force Base.

Speaking to local business leaders at Tuesday night’s Committee of Fifty meeting, Maj. Gen. David Quantock said he believed the tour went well.

“We had a great chairman here. Ike Skelton served his great country for 34 years and he’s got a little bit of time left. We can’t ever replace him and we can’t thank him enough for what he has done for Fort Leonard Wood and for his country, being here for 34 years,” Quantock said. “But we’ve also got a new person, Vicky Hartzler, who came and visited us today. We brought her to Fort Leonard Wood (and showed her) the great synergy we have between the community businesses and the Fort.”

Col Scott Spellmon, Fort Leonard Wood’s new chief of staff, outlined what that tour involved.

“I think we had a great visit with Mrs. Hartzler; today we had an opportunity to introduce her and show her a little bit about Fort Leonard Wood and the multiple missions and activities that we have ongoing on the installation,” Spellmon said. “General Quantock and each of the commandants had an opportunity to show just a small piece, a highlight of their particular areas.”

Those three commandants supervise the Army Engineer School, the Military Police School, and what was formerly known as the Army Chemical School but is now called the “Army CBRN School,” which stands for “chemical, biological, nuclear and radiological” hazards.

“For (Brig. Gen. Bryan) Watson of the engineer school, we took her to the Counter-Explosive Hazards Center and talked with her a little bit about route clearance and some the work that we are doing with countering IEDs (improvised explosive devices) to lead the Army’s effort,” Spellmon said. “For the CBRN school, we had an opportunity to take her out to the Terry facility and show her some of the work and some of the training that we do across the various chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear tasks that we train our soldiers on, and for (Brig. Gen. David) Phillips and the Military Police School, we had the opportunity to show her Stem Village and walk her through some of the unique training opportunities that we have for our military policemen.”

Spellmon said he’s received positive reports.

“I think it was very well received,” Spellmon said. “This was a relatively short visit; it was very much of an overview of a wide array of mission sets that we have ongoing here.”

Quantock said the tour began with a meeting with officials of the Leonard Wood Institute, a program begun with a congressional earmark by Skelton which funds a variety of research and development initiatives that may lead to inventions that benefit the Army and is targeted toward bringing businesses to the Fort Leonard Wood area.

Quantock said he wanted to make clear to Hartzler how close the relationship is between Fort Leonard Wood and its surrounding civilian community.

“It is a special relationship between the community, whether it is the businesses and the installation, or whether it’s just the community support that we have that you can’t beat; it is second to none,” Quantock said. “As I told her, you cannot replicate this on any post — and I’ve been to many posts throughout our Army — you can’t replicate the tremendous bond, the tremendous support from the community, both in an unofficial capacity and an official capacity, it is second to none.”

Hartzler, who is going through new member orientation and other activities associated with preparing to take her seat in Congress, hasn’t yet commented on her visit on Fort Leonard Wood.

However, in a prepared statement issued Monday, she complimented the commanders of Whiteman Air Force Base for a similar tour they organized for her last week.

“I had a great day meeting with the commanders at Whiteman Air Force Base, learning more about their missions, hearing their concerns and ideas, and touring the base,” Hartzler wrote. “It was an honor to meet these dedicated public servants who have given their lives and talents to keeping us free. I was thrilled to get to sit in the cockpit of the Apache Helicopter, an A-10 Thunderbolt, and the B-2 Stealth Bomber. We have such a national security treasure here in Missouri’s 4th (Congressional District) and I look forward to working with them to protect and defend our country.”

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