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            Newport, R.I., June 16, 2009 - Rep. Ike Skelton (D - MO), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, will address approximately 520 graduates of the Naval War College during a ceremony on Dewey Field at Naval Station Newport, starting at 9 a.m. on Friday, June 19.

The resident graduating class includes 298 members of the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army, U.S. Coast Guard, and civilian government employees and 115 international students from 65 countries.  Many of the resident graduates will take high-level assignments in command of ships or squadrons, or as members of strategic planning staffs.  Approximately 110 College of Distance Education graduates are participating in the ceremony after having completed coursework through the Fleet Seminar Program at 20 locations throughout the U.S. or the college’s web-enabled and correspondence programs.

The Naval War College’s rigorous academic program consists of core curriculum courses in Strategy and Policy, Joint Military Operations, and National Security Decision Making.  The resident program and Fleet Seminar Program feature seminar-based coursework that promotes debate and in-depth discussion on global case studies. 

Depending on the program completed, U.S. students receive Joint Professional Military Education credit and either a Naval War College diploma or a Master of Arts degree in National Security and Strategic Studies, accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.  Graduates from the international programs receive a diploma.

Rep. Skelton, a democrat from Missouri’s fourth congressional district since 1977, is a leader in the House on defense issues and a principal supporter of joint professional military education.   A native of Lexington, he is a graduate of Wentworth Military Academy and the University of Missouri at Columbia where he received A.B. and L.L.B. degrees. He was named as a member of Phi Beta Kappa and the Law Review. Prior to his election to Congress, Skelton served as Lafayette County Prosecuting Attorney and as a Missouri State Senator.

The Fourth District is home to Fort Leonard Wood, Whiteman Air Force Base, and the Missouri National Guard Training Center.  Skelton played a key role in bringing the Army Engineer School to Fort Leonard Wood and the B-2 Stealth bomber to Whiteman.           

NOTE FOR MEDIA:  Interested media should contact the Naval War College Public Affairs Office at (401) 841-2220 to confirm attendance.  Please respond by noon Thursday, June 18, with names of all representatives.  A photo ID, vehicle registration and proof of insurance are required to enter the base at Gate One.  (Rep. Skelton will not be available for interviews.)