Originally created 12/26/05

Members of panel pay visit to troops



ATLANTA - New Jersey Republican Rep. Jim Saxton visited American troops overseas during part of the run-up to the holidays and said he found the soldiers in good spirits.

Mr. Saxton traveled with Democratic Rep. Jim Marshall, a Macon Democrat, and Gen. Peter Schoomaker, the Army chief of staff, according to a statement released by Mr. Saxton's office. Both congressmen are members of the House Armed Services Committee.

"The troops I met are focused and committed and were grateful to see us," Mr. Saxton said.

The delegation went to Pakistan on Thursday, Afghanistan on Friday and Iraq the following day.

Mr. Saxton met with foreign and American military officers, and with soldiers from New Jersey.

"U.S. forces are facing daunting challenges with grit and determination," Mr. Saxton said.

"They are helping a growing democracy that is being challenged by forces of oppression and terrorism. U.S. service members are making sacrifices and taking great personal risks to build a better world. In many cases, we've seen them lay down their lives for freedom."