GORDONVILLE, MO, USA U.S. Army SSG, 1138TH ENGINEER COMPANY, 107TH BATTALION, 35TH BRIGADE, FORT LEONARD WOOD, MO BAGHDAD, IRAQ 02/06/2008
On February 6, 2008, the Missouri National Guard lost one of its best “Sappers”. Staff Sgt Bradley Joe Skelton, 40, of Gordonville, Mo.; assigned to the 1138th Engineer Company (Sappers), 35th Engineer Brigade, Missouri Army National Guard, Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.; died in Baghdad, Iraq, of wounds sustained when his vehicle struck an improvised explosive device during combat operations.
Bradley came out of retirement to serve with friends who were returning to Iraq, hoping his past experience would benefit newer soldiers and thinking someone with more to lose might be better off staying home. “Rambrad” was a selfless soldier, avid hunter and fisherman who collected arrowheads and loved the military. “He was always available to do something with.”
A 1985 high school graduate, he served many years as a firefighter with the Gordonville Fire Department. He originally enlisted in the National Guard during his senior of high school. He deployed with the 1140th Engineers Battalion on his first tour to Iraq in 2004.
He leaves behind his sister, Carmen, and 800 of his “extended” family members from the town of Gordonville, Mo. “I am saddened beyond words about the loss of Sergeant Skelton. I knew him personally and was very proud of his decision to rejoin the Missouri National Guard for this deployment,” said Maj. Gen. King Sidwell, adjutant general of the Missouri National Guard.
“He was a good guy, outspoken, always there to help anybody, as much with the fire department as he was in the service,” remarked Gordonville Fire Chief Mark Koerber.
“He died doing exactly what he wanted to do,” said Brad’s long time friend Brian McCallister.
Sgt Skelton’s military awards include: the Meritorious Service Medal; Army Commendation Medal; Army Achievement Medal; Army Reserve Component Achievement Medal, third award; National Defense Service Medal, second award; Iraq Campaign Medal; Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal; Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; Humanitarian Service Medal; Armed Forces Reserve Medal with mobilization device, second award; Army Service Ribbon; Overseas Service Ribbon; Army Reserve Component Overseas Training Ribbon; Missouri Commendation Medal, second award; Missouri Basic Training Ribbon; Missouri 15 Years Long Service Ribbon; and Utah National Guard 2002 Olympic Winter Games Ribbon.