SSG Bradley Skelton

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Staff Sgt. Bradley Joe Skelton, 40, of Gordonville died in Baghdad on Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2008. He was a "Sapper" on his second tour in Iraq with Missouri National Guard's 1138th Engineer Company, headquartered in Farmington, Mo. He was killed when his vehicle struck a roadside bomb.

Skelton was born July 29, 1967, in Cape Girardeau, to Harold L. "Chub" and Dorothy M. "Dot" (Willa) Skelton. Chub and Dot preceded him in death, May 28, 1994, and Aug. 7, 1998, respectively.

He was a 1985 graduate of Jackson High School. He joined the Missouri National Guard during his junior year, serving out of the 1140th in Jackson, the unit with which he made his first deployment to Iraq.

SSG Skelton's military awards and decorations include: Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, Army Reserve Component Achievement Medal 3, National Defense Service Medal with Bronze Service Star, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal with "M" Device (Arabic Numeral 2 and Silver Hour Glass Device), Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon 2, Army Reserve Components Overseas Training Ribbon 5, Combat Action Badge, Weapons Qualification Badge (Bar -- Weapon, Rifle Inscription, Expert), Driver and Mechanic Badge (Bar -- Driver W for wheeled vehicles), State Military Awards: Utah National Guard 2002 Olympic Winter Games Service Ribbon, Missouri National Guard Commendation Ribbon 6, Missouri National Guard 20 Year Long Service Ribbon, Missouri National Guard Basic Training Ribbon.

His civilian employment includes the former Schaper's IGA and Ceramo in Jackson, BioKyowa, Tri-State Water and Elfrink Transportation in Cape Girardeau. He also served many years as a firefighter with the Gordonville Fire Department.

He was a member of Altenthal-Joerns American Legion Post 158 in Jackson, the VFW in Cape Girardeau and Christ Lutheran Church in Gordonville.

Immediate survivors include his sister Carmen (Jerry) Robinson and their children, Brian, Caleb and Christy of Sikeston, Mo.

Survivors of the paternal family include two uncles Charlie (Carrie) Skelton of Gordonville, Joe (the late Pauline) Naylor of San Antonio; an aunt, Evelyn (the late Bernard) Dake of Jackson; cousins, Pearla (Terry) Smith, Steve (Susan) Skelton, all of Jackson, Kent (Donna) Skelton of Perryville, Mo., Keith (Alice) Skelton of Oak Ridge, Patty (Gary) Matlock of Pocahontas, Becky Thorne and Connie Adams of Jackson, Donna (Russ) Whitworth of New Hamburg, Mo., Tanya Meeks of Sikeston, Stacey (Dave) Stephens of Alexandria, Va., Leslie Gestring of Caruthersville, Mo., Mark Skelton of Los Angeles and Tammy (Randy) Abbott of Fruitland.

Maternal survivors include an uncle, Allen (Betty) Willa of Melbourne, Fla.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by a paternal uncle, Leo (Juanita) Skelton, and a paternal aunt, Pauline Naylor.

Arrangements are as follows:

Visitation will open with an American Legion Honor Guard Service at 3:30 p.m. Friday at McCombs Funeral Home in Jackson. Visitation will conclude at 8 p.m.

At 10 a.m. Saturday the cortege will depart from McCombs to Saxony Lutheran High School in Jackson. Members of Altenthal-Joerns American Legion Post 158 are assisting with traffic. As vehicles enter the parking area, they will be asked if they are attending only the service or both the service and graveside. Those planning to take their vehicle to the cemetery will be directed to park accordingly. Those attending only the service will be directed to a different area. Doors to the public will open about 10:30 a.m. The family will receive visitors until 12:15 p.m. Please make every effort to be seated by 12:45 p.m. to allow adequate time for ushers to distribute service bulletins and staff to make final adjustments prior to the service at 1 p.m.

Clergy will be the Rev. Gary Hoffstetter of Christ Lutheran Church in Gordonville. Vocalist and National Guard Retiree Steve Grant will present the solo "Welcome Home." Congregational hymns will include "Onward Christian Soldiers," "The Old Rugged Cross" and "Battle Hymn of the Republic."

Serving as casket bearers will be Missouri Delta Team of Cape Girardeau. Honorary pallbearers are Brian McCallister, Darren McCallister, Brett McCallister, Chris Illers, Mark Gones, Kent Koch, Gary Matlock Jr., Shawn Adams, Darren Helderman; brother-in-law, Jerry Robinson; and cousins, Keith, Kent and Steve Skelton.

The funeral will then travel in procession to Christ Lutheran Cemetery in Gordonville, with an estimated arrival time of 3 p.m. Full military honors will be presented by Delta Team of Cape Girardeau.

The cemetery is on a one-lane road next to the Gordonville School. Due to its location, immediate parking will be available only to the family; however, other parking areas have been secured by Gordonville Mayor Sheila Gross. Parking will be available at the old Circle S Saddle Company, Highway 25 and Route Z and Peters Heating & Air Conditioning, Langs' Trucking, the Christ Lutheran Church and the Gordonville Grill overflow lot. Shuttle buses will be available from each of these designated parking areas with parking attendants to supervise parking. Additional inclement weather could further restrict these conditions.

Memorials are suggested to Saxony Lutheran High School, Christ Lutheran Building Fund, Missouri National Guard's 1140th Engineer Company Family Support Group or Freedom is Not Free for aiding wounded troops, their families and the families of the fatally wounded (www.freedomisnotfree.com).

Sympathy messages may be sent to the family online at www.mccombsfuneralhome.com.