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John Murtha was appointed to the U.S. House of Representatives in a special election to fill a vacancy caused by the death of GOP Rep. John P. Saylor.
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Politician. Born June 17, 1932, in New Martinsville, West Virginia. John Patrick Murtha's family had a deep military history; his great-grandfather served in the Civil War and his father and three uncles in World War II. In 1962, Murtha received a bachelor's degree in economics from the University of Pittsburgh. He then completed graduate courses at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
In 1966, as the Vietnam war escalated, Murtha volunteered for active duty in the Marines, joining his brothers in the military. Wounded twice, he was awarded two Purple Hearts, a Bronze Star and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry. Upon his return to the United States, he entered politics. In 1969, he was elected to the Pennsylvania House. He served in Pennsylvania until 1974, when he was appointed to the U.S. House of Representatives in a special election to fill a vacancy caused by the death of GOP Rep. John P. Saylor.
Murtha served in the House until his death in 2010. During his time in office, Murtha chaired the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee. He also became a critic of the Iraq war, calling it unwinable. He pushed the Bush administration to commit more troops and resources.
The congressman died on the afternoon of February 8, 2010, in the Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington, Virginia, after complications from gall bladder surgery.
Murtha and his wife, Joyce, lived in Washinton, D.C. with their three children until his death in 2010.
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