House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton has written top Pentagon leaders that he's "greatly troubled" by stories from soldiers in war zones about improper training and the lack of suitable combat gear.
The Associated Press writes: "Soldiers are being issued a rucksack made of plastic that is not comfortable or effective in combat situations, Skelton and Ortiz found during a recent trip to Germany and Italy where they met with members of the 503rd Infantry Regiment and the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team."
ALSO: "Skelton and Ortiz said many of the soldiers they talked to are using their own money to buy better packs from commercial suppliers."
AND: The lawmakers said they were told troops are being taken straight from boot camp and being sent to Afghanistan and Iraq without extensive training at stateside bases. "Is this a common practice now"? Skelton asks. "And will the upcoming surge into Afghanistan exacerbate this situation?"
MEANWHILE: Despite wishful thinking from Missouri Republicans, Skelton's spokesperson tells the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) the Democratic incumbent will seek another term.
PLUS: 4th District GOP candidate Vicky Hartzler sends a release criticizing Skelton's staff for "stonewalling" questions about about the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.
"Now, gay rights champion Barney Frank of Massachusetts has said that next year’s defense authorizations bill, which Mr. Skelton will handle, will repeal ‘don’t ask/don’t tell.’ Our brave troops do not support this. When Barney Frank announced the deal, I challenged Mr. Skelton to tell us the facts. He stonewalled. Now, his taxpayer-financed staff refuses to answer media questions about Barney Frank’s statement on a bill that Ike Skelton will handle in the House," said Hartzler in a statement.