A Baptist minister from
Oregon who was killed in Afghanistan Aug. 30 is the first Army chaplain to die
in combat since Vietnam, according to the Army.
Capt. Dale Allen Goetz, 43,
died in a roadside bombing in Afghanistan’s Arghandab River Valley. He had been
in Afghanistan less than a month. Four other Fort Carson, Colo., soldiers were
also killed in the attack.
Goetz is the 124th service
member with strong ties to Oregon to die in Afghanistan or Iraq. But as a
chaplain, he was a noncombatant and unarmed.
The more than 400 Army
chaplains in Iraq or Afghanistan are military officers. Their job is to reach
soldiers on the battlefield, to provide religious support and to perform
services or rites, said Lt. Col. Carleton Birch, a spokesman for the Army Chief
An armed chaplain’s
assistant travels with each. The first assistant to die in the wars was killed
in Afghanistan last month, Birch said.
Goetz attended Maranatha
Baptist Bible College in Watertown, Wis. He completed his master of divinity
degree at Central Baptist Theological Seminary, which is affiliated with the
American Baptist Churches USA. He was pastor of a church in White, S.D., until
he joined the Army and
began his work toward
chaplaincy in 2000.
He served with the infantry
at Fort Lewis, Wash., then three years in Okinawa, Japan, until he was
transferred to Colorado in January. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 66th
Armor Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, based at Fort
Carson. He served 11
months in Iraq in 2004-05.
Survivors include his wife
and three children ages 10, 8 and 1. Funeral services are planned in Colorado
Springs, Colo., with burial at Fort Logan National Cemetery in Denver.