Kline Leads Congressional Delegation to Iraq
Lawmakers assessed progress, visited troops
Congressman John Kline (R-MN) returned from a bipartisan Congressional Delegation to Iraq to assess the progress of the unity government and the work being done by the Iraqi Security Forces.
The four-member delegation met with military and civilian officials as well as U.S. troops currently serving in the area. Kline specifically met with members of the Minnesota National Guard in support of the global war on terror.
"I was impressed to see the rapid progress of the Iraqi Army," Kline said. "When our delegation entered the headquarters of the Iraqi 9th Mechanized Division and as we met with the Commanding General and his staff, we could tell they had unit pride and the look of a Division that was ready to take over. They are battle-hardened and proud of themselves.
"I also visited with Minnesota soldiers. As it was during my previous three trips to Iraq, their morale remains high and they are doing a wonderful job."
This congressional delegation trip to Iraq was the fourth for Congressman Kline, a member of the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) in his second term in the U.S. House of Representatives. Congressman Kline traveled to Iraq in 2003 to visit U.S. troops and meet with military and civilian leadership in the area. In January of 2005, Congressman Kline led a Congressional Delegation to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Jordan and Iraq to assess the progress of U.S. operations in support of the emerging democracies there. In November of 2005, he led a Congressional Delegation to Kuwait, Jordan and Iraq where he was able to survey conditions on the eve of elections in Iraq.
Congressman Kline, a 25-year career Marine Corps veteran, retired at the rank of Colonel. He served as a helicopter pilot in Vietnam, commanded all Marine aviation forces in Operation Restore Hope in Somalia, flew "Marine One," the Presidential helicopter, and served as Program Development Officer at Headquarters Marine Corps. During his military career, Kline received numerous medals and commendations including four Legions of Merit.
Congressman Kline served as a military aide to Presidents Carter and Reagan where his responsibilities included carrying the nuclear "football" - the package containing launch codes for a nuclear attack. He also advised our country's senior civilian and military leadership, including the President.
As a current member of the HASC, Congressman Kline is assigned to the subcommittees on Military Personnel; and Terrorism, Unconventional Threats, and Capabilities.