GORDONVILLE - Staff Sergeant, Bradley Joe Skelton, 40, died in Baghdad, Iraq, on Feb. 6, 2008.
He was a "Sapper" on his second tour in Iraq with Missouri National Guard's 1138th Engineer Company, headquartered in Farmington. He was killed when his vehicle struck a roadside bomb.
Skelton was born July 29, 1967, in Cape Girardeau, to Harold L. "Chubb" and Dorothy M. "Dot" (Willa) Skelton. Chubb 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.
Sgt. 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, Bio-Kiowa, Tri-State Water, and Elfrink Transportation in Cape Girardeau. He also served many years as a firefighter with 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. 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, Keith (Alice) Skelton of Oak Ridge, Patty (Gary) Matlock of Pocahontas, Becky Thorne and Connie Adams of Jackson, Donna (Russ) Whitworth of New Hamburg, Tanya Meeks of Sikeston, Stacey (Dave) Stephens of Alexandria, Va., Leslie Gestring of Caruthersville, Mark Skelton of Los Angeles and Tammy (Randy) Abbott of Fruitland, Mo. 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.
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 8:30 p.m.
The cortège will depart at 10:30 a.m. Saturday from McCombs to Saxony Lutheran High School in Jackson. Doors will open at approximately 11 a.m. The family will receive visitors until 12:15 p.m. with services beginning at 1 p.m.
Clergy will be the Rev. Gary Hoffstetter of Christ Lutheran Church in Gordonville.
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 brothers, Keith, Kent, and Steve Skelton.
The funeral will then travel in procession to Christ Lutheran Cemetery in Gordonville. Full military honors will be presented by Delta Team of Cape Girardeau.
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Memorials are suggested to:
Saxony Lutheran High School Christ Lutheran Building Fund
Freedom is Not Free (www.freedomisnotfree.com) for aiding wounded troops, their families and families of the fatally wounded