Politics & Government

From Afghanistan: S.C. congressmen visit Camp Phoenix

KABUL, Afghanistan — Bearing gifts and handshakes, U.S. Reps. John Spratt and Joe Wilson, both of South Carolina, led a fact-finding mission Wednesday to Camp Phoenix, where a S.C. National Guard brigade is headquartered.

The South Carolinians are half of a four-member non-partisan congressional contingent that's touring Afghanistan this week, visiting with military and Afghan civilian leaders.

For Wilson, a Republican from Springdale in Lexington County, the trip was a chance to be reunited with some of the S.C. soldiers who he served with when he was the chief military lawyer for the Newberry-based 218th Brigade.

Spratt, a York Democrat, visited with his Upstate constituents.

It was important for the congressmen to visit, Spratt said. He labeled Afghanistan "the forgotten war," adding its outcome may be more important to the United States than the war in Iraq.

Both Spratt and Wilson lauded the morale of the S.C. troops.

The soldiers, meanwhile, said they appreciated the congressmen's visit, noting the legislators were facing the same perils in traveling to Afghanistan that they did.

When the congressional delegation returns to Washington, it will make a report and share it with other members of Congress, Spratt said. Joining Spratt and Wilson, were U.S. Reps. Joe Courtney, D-Conn., and Jean Schmidt, R-Ohio.

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