Gates, top military brass to attend Murtha’s funeral

Defense Secretary Robert Gates and the top military service leaders will travel to Pennsylvania Tuesday for Rep. John Murtha’s funeral.

Gates is expected to attend the services in Johnstown, Pa., together with Army Chief of Staff George Casey and Army Secretary John McHugh; Navy Secretary Ray Mabus and Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead; the Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. James Conway and Air Force Secretary Michael Donley.

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Murtha (D-Pa.) died on Feb. 8 after complications from gallbladder surgery. He was 77.

As the powerful Chairman of House Appropriations Defense Committee, Murtha’s decisions have had a large impact on all the military services for years.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), one of Murtha’s closest allies and friends in Congress, is expected to lead a large congressional delegation to the funeral.

Murtha, a former Marine Corps drill sergeant, was the first Vietnam War veteran to serve in Congress. His family decided against a burial at Arlington National Cemetery.

A memorial service for Murtha will also take place in Washington towards the end of the month.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen is also going to travel to Johnstown for Murtha's funeral services. Other dignitaries include former President Bill Clinton, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, a fomer member of Congress, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency Leon Panetta, National Security adviser retired Marine Corps Gen. Jim Jones, and Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, also a former member of Congress.

Pennsylvania lawmakers will serve as honorary pallbearers after the funeral service. Sen. Robert Casey (D), Reps. Jason Altmire (D), Rep. Robert Brady (D), Rep. Christopher Carney (D), Rep. Kathy Dahlkemper (D), Rep. Charles Dent (R), Rep. Mike Doyle (D), Rep. Chaka Fattah (D), Rep. Jim Gerlach (R), Rep. Tim  Holden (D), Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D), Rep. Patrick Murphy (D), Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D), Rep. Joe Sestak (D) and Rep. Bill Shuster (R).

This story was updated at 9:45 p.m.