September 2nd, 2010
07:40 PM ET
Editor's Note: CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor Eric Marrapodi and CNN Producer Paul Vercammen filed this report.
For the first time in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, a U.S. military chaplain has been killed in action.
On August 30, U.S. Army chaplain Capt. Dale Goetz, 43, was killed in the Arghandab River Valley in Afghanistan, when the convoy he was traveling in was struck by an improvised explosive device, according to the Department of Defense. Four other soldiers also were killed in the attack.
Goetz was serving as the battalion chaplain for the 1st Battalion, 66th Armor Regiment.
Friends and co-workers said Goetz was a dedicated father and chaplain. He leaves behind a wife and three sons.
Senior Pastor Stuart Schwenke of First Baptist Church in Oelwein, Iowa, attended seminary with Goetz. Schwenke said they talked at least once a month and he had talked to Goetz just days before he deployed in July.
"He was not a drill sergeant," Schwenke said. "He did not jab a finger in your chest. He put a hand on your shoulder and got you to understand what was going on in your life. Dale helped you to get things right with God and other people."
Goetz's tour in Afghanistan was his second deployment. He joined the Army in January 2000, and in 2004 he spent a year serving in Iraq.
He loved his sons and hated being away from them, Schwenke said.
"Dale was an outdoorsman and a sportsman. He would take the boys into the woods and show them the trails. He would take them fishing. Dale wanted his boys to grow up to be men," Schwenke said.
According to the Defense Department, the other soldiers killed in the attack were Staff Sgt. Jesse Infante, 30, Staff Sgt. Kevin J. Kessler, 32, Staff Sgt. Matthew J. West, and Pfc. Chad D. Clements, 26. All five were stationed at Fort Carson in Colorado.
CNN's Barbara Starr contributed to this report.
Editor's Note: Here is the Army's Chief of Chaplains Douglas Carver's full statement:
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team and frequent posts from religion scholar and author Stephen Prothero.