MISSOURI, (Missourinet).– A southern Missouri congressman says all members of Congress should travel to war-torn countries to visit American troops.U.S. Rep. Jason Smith, R-Salem, who serves as the GOP Conference Secretary, visited Afghanistan and Kuwait just before Thanksgiving with five other members of Congress.
Smith describes America’s servicemen and women as “the pinnacle of patriotism,” adding that their sacrifices ensure that we can enjoy our rights of liberty and freedom.
Before flying out from Joint Base Andrews, Smith met with U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Ian Ives and his family. Sergeant Ives, who’s from Cuba, Missouri, is recovering at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, after suffering serious injuries in Afghanistan.
Smith brought another injured veteran with him to Walter Reed, to meet Sergeant Ives.
“I brought another fellow member of Congress with me,” Smith says. “One who’s experienced and who has lied in the same bed that Staff Sergeant Ives has, and that is Representative Congressman Brian Mast from Florida.”
U.S. Rep. Brian Mast, R-Florida, lost both of his legs in an IED explosion in Afghanistan, and Smith says Mast was a great inspiration to Ives.
Sergeant Ives’ family has traveled from Crawford County to Washington to support him, and Smith thanked them for their sacrifice. Congressman Smith presented Sergeant Ives and his family with a flag that was flown over the U.S. Capitol.
During his overseas trip, Smith also met in Afghanistan with a soldier who farms in southeast Missouri’s Jackson. Smith tells Missourinet he met with U.S. Army soldier Spencer Knowlan in the war-torn nation. They also met during the congressman’s August farm tour across southern Missouri.
“He’s a fine young man who serves his country, he serves his community and he is definitely representing us well in Afghanistan,” says Smith.
Smith says Knowlan’s parents and his wife are operating the family farm in Cape Girardeau County, while he’s serving in Afghanistan.
Smith praises what he describes as the relentless dedication of America’s armed forces.
Smith represents 30 counties in southeast and south-central Missouri. The sprawling district includes Cape Girardeau, Sikeston, Poplar Bluff, Cuba and Farmington.
The congressional visit to Afghanistan and Kuwait was bipartisan. U.S. Sens. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, Kirsten Gillibrand, D-New York, and Shelley Moore Capito, R-West Virginia, were among the others on the trip.
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