September 2nd, 2010
07:40 PM ET

For first time in Iraq or Afghanistan wars, U.S. military chaplain is killed

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.

The Army's chief of chaplains, Maj. Gen. Douglas Carver, said in a statement, "Dale was a selfless servant of God, a devoted husband and father, a strong American patriot, and a compassionate spiritual leader whose love for Soldiers was only surpassed by his firm commitment to living his calling as a United States Army Chaplain."

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:

It is with my deepest sympathy and utmost respect that I announce to our Chaplain Corps that Chaplain (CPT) Dale A. Goetz was killed in action in Afghanistan on August 30, 2010 while serving as the Battalion Chaplain for 1-66th Armor Battalion, 4th Infantry Division. Dale was one of five Soldiers killed by an Improvised Explosive Device while traveling in a convoy near Kandahar Province. Chaplain Goetz is survived by his wife, Christy, and by their three sons- Landon, Caleb and Joel.

Chaplain Goetz is the first military chaplain killed in action in Iraq or Afghanistan. Dale was a selfless servant of God, a devoted husband and father, a strong American patriot, and a compassionate spiritual leader whose love for Soldiers was only surpassed by his firm commitment to living his calling as a United States Army Chaplain.

Please join with me in prayer for the Goetz family as we mourn with them in the loss of Dale, our fellow Soldier and Unit Ministry Team member.

Let us also strive to honor Dale's sacrifice with a continuing bold commitment to ensure the finest religious support and pastoral care possible for our beloved Soldiers and their Families.

May God bless the Goetz Family and the Families of all our Fallen Soldiers; and, may God bless our Army and the United States of America.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Afghanistan • Baptist • Christianity • Colorado • Death • Military • United States

soundoff (121 Responses)
  1. SJtR

    wow, looks like that out reach to islam program 0bama is doing sure is working well. must be another Bush's fault

    September 2, 2010 at 11:00 pm |
    • SJtRisaDB

      Seriously SJtR, a man dies and you use that a reason to bash Obama. Really? I think you and many others might just be running on "Bash Obama Autopilot" ... cause I can look at almost any article on this website and there's some looney blaming Obama.

      September 2, 2010 at 11:21 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      I truly wish you would come say such a thing to my face. Just make sure you bring your medical and dental coverage card.
      Because I'm going to show you what my OTHER job for the Army was.

      September 2, 2010 at 11:44 pm |
    • BellaItaly

      They only talk when they are drunk. If you have a chance to meet up with him he'll run in the other direction.

      September 2, 2010 at 11:59 pm |
    • Frogist

      LOL@Wzrd1... Calm down now. He's not a threat to you! Repeat this mantra: just another trolllllll, just another trollll....

      September 3, 2010 at 1:25 pm |
    • INF SSG


      wow. you really are an oxygen thief.

      September 7, 2010 at 9:27 am |
  2. Lookinthemirror

    Tragic as this event is, and effective as it is at making us all feel sympathetic, we must not lose sight of why this happened, and what is wrong with this situation–the pastor should never have been there, and neither should our soldiers–we sent them there, we are responsible for this crime!

    1. The war in Iraq has always been an illegal war–no more legal than German invasion of Poland (which effectively started World War II).

    2. The war in Afghanistan is not a just war. The goal of the Afghan war was to punish the Al Qaida "Arab" terrorists for 9/11–those guys got beat, killed or escaped to Pakistan. We are now fighting local ethnic group, the Pashtuns whose main, but not only, political party is the "Taliban." The reason the Taliban fight us is because we installed the second most corrupt government on the planet–the only worse government (rated by UN) are the pirates of Somalia. We are supporting one party against another, we fight local guys who had nothing to do with 9/11 or were not even teenagers then. This is wrong.

    3. We try to sanction our illegal and unjust wars with religious support. Should we pray that our sons, brothers, fathers come home, yes?! But don't you see that we are praying for evil upon other human beings? How could this be just, good or holy? We don't need to pray for them to come home, we just need bring them home and make amends for the wrongs we have caused thousands of families here and abroad.

    Remember Mark Twain's War Poem (excerpt below):
    "O Lord our Father, our young patriots, idols of our hearts, go forth to battle – be Thou near them! With them – in spirit – we also go forth from the sweet peace of our beloved firesides to smite the foe. O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with the shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with little children to wander unfriended the wastes of their desolated land in rags and hunger and thirst, sports of the sun flames of summer and the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring Thee for the refuge of the grave and denied it – for our sakes who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimage, make heavy their steps, water their way with their tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet! We ask it, in the spirit of love, of Him Who is the Source of Love, and Who is the ever-faithful refuge and friend of all that are sore beset and seek His aid with humble and contrite hearts. Amen.

    September 2, 2010 at 10:59 pm |
    • BellaItaly

      Give me a break. Today's military is all volunteer. W,hile we sit here at home in our cool air conditioned homes our king and queens of the crop are doing their duty. Now I think Bush should be in jail for a war in Iraq and putting soldiers in harms way. But these young men and women are doing their duty and doing what we ask them to do. I am sick and tired of seeing the same people going over and over while allot of people sit at home and not doing their share. I think it is about time to bring the draft back. Nobody will be left out of the draft. All the politicans kids, CEO's, and middle america kids should be forced into doing a 2 yr duty. Simple period. Then maybe they can see what true scarifice is.

      September 2, 2010 at 11:56 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Lookin theMirror: No we should never have to lose a life to war. But at the moment people are experiencing just how devastating that can be. You don't have to give up your stance on the war to understand the loss it causes.

      @BellaItaly: Besides the fact that to support a nation in war you need people on the homefront keeping the country's economy and social services alive, I hope you're over there serving in Afghanistan or your words are hypocritical and divisive in nature. You might want to re-think your ideas before you condemn everyone who doesn't strap on a gun for victory.

      September 3, 2010 at 1:23 pm |
  3. Scott

    I am not an American but I can certainly appreciate the sacrifice made by all those who serve there country. It seems like I have more respect for your soldiers than some of the Americans that have posted.
    All that being said, I want to show my respects to all five of those killed in this senseless act, and to their families. It is a truly amazing thing to lay down your lives for others. Even the greatest mockers of these things like tnusagirl and RTFM should be able to recognize that. Then again maybe they can't.

    September 2, 2010 at 10:56 pm |
    • Kate


      tnusagirl was replying to a troll, whose post got nuked and now her reply isn't linked to it and is out of context.

      Just sayin'

      September 2, 2010 at 11:03 pm |
  4. GodIsForImbeciles

    May the All-Powerful, Magic & Invisible Sky Fairy King accept you into the Supernatural Lounge and may you frolic in the bogus afterlife for a long, long time until your followers forget you ever existed.

    September 2, 2010 at 10:45 pm |
    • Dark Poet

      really? A man dies and instead of honoring his death you attack a dead man's beliefs? Even though you might not agree with them have some decency! People like you make me sick! Where does the line get drawn of where one mans rights of freedom of speech stop when its another man's right to a proper funeral? God Bless this man's family in these rough times, and shame on those who choose this time to debate weather or not GOD exist. This man believes there is a GOD and let it be so! He isn't alive to defend himself... so why attack him?!

      September 3, 2010 at 12:10 am |
    • GodIsForImbeciles

      Isn't there a tea party you should be attending?

      September 3, 2010 at 12:16 am |
  5. mother of 2 boys serving

    RTFM they put their lives on the line so ungreatful ppl like YOU can live freely! they should all be recognized for their untimely deaths! You are HEARTLESS

    September 2, 2010 at 10:34 pm |
  6. sammy

    I knew Chaplain Goetz, we both served as chaplain in Okinawa, Japan. He was truly a man who loved God, his family and his soldiers. He lived to die for God's calling in his life. We should not feel sorry for him, He is with the Lord, let us pray for Christy and the children they, will miss the best father and husband.

    September 2, 2010 at 10:33 pm |
  7. mother of 2 boys serving

    God bless the families of those wonderful men who served! My prayers are w/ them. I have the deepest respect for all of them. God speed to all! Being a mom of 2 boys serving I pray for all who are in the military and their families. Nothing is harder than sending your kids off to war!

    September 2, 2010 at 10:31 pm |
    • BellaItaly

      Thank your sons for us. As a military wife of a retired soldier I can tell you it isn't easy waiting back home. Always worrying. But get involved and keep busy. It helps.

      September 2, 2010 at 11:48 pm |
  8. RTFM

    While it is a very sad thing, and my heart goes to the friends and family of all those killed in Afghanistan and Iraq, but I'm always surprised how people react to this. A soldier getting killed, while unfortunate and sad, is something that happens. Not everyone's going to get a star-spangled welcome home. I've had 4 friends killed in these two wars- good people, a couple of whom were close friends. I say rest in peace to all who have bravely put their lives on the line (regardless if you think the war is right or wrong). I'm just tired of having the news and wire services just basically state the obvious.

    It's war, people die. Hey CNN, give me news when this whole mess is over.

    September 2, 2010 at 10:28 pm |
    • Frogist

      @RTFM I kind of share your sentiment on this. It is stating the obvious that in war people die. But sometimes we forget what that means exactly. And I think a reminder every now and again will put each of us in the frame of mind of what war is. War is death. And each death leaves one more family in pain. I completely agree with you on this: I can't wait for this whole mess to be over with.
      @mother of 2 boys serving: I understand this is a difficult topic for you. Let's not start calling people "ungrateful" for stating an obvious truth.As someone with children overseas, I think you can probably relate to being a little more fed up each time you hear of another life being lost to war.

      September 3, 2010 at 1:09 pm |
    • Kate


      "Out of sight, out of mind"? The news of military deaths is boring you?

      Just growlin'

      September 3, 2010 at 1:34 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Kate: Not bored, sounds more like weary. He/She lost 4 friends in these wars. If it was me, I wouldn't want to hear another word of war and death.

      September 3, 2010 at 3:05 pm |
  9. Jed

    One of my friends is close to the deceased. He is also a chaplain and will be deploying to the same location. His grief is my grief. As a soldier I always grieve when a comrade falls.

    September 2, 2010 at 10:08 pm |
    • Frogist

      I'm sorry, Jed. But from what I hear here, sounds like your friend will be welcomed heartily by his comrades when he arrives.

      September 3, 2010 at 2:58 pm |
  10. Chaplain in the US Army

    Pro Deo et Patria!

    September 2, 2010 at 9:59 pm |
    • U.S. Navy Sailor

      For God and Country....How appropriate. God-Speed Chaplain Goetz....Your duty to God and Country is done.

      September 2, 2010 at 10:13 pm |
    • BellaItaly

      Yes, for God and Country is the most precious gift of freedom. Peace be with you father.

      September 2, 2010 at 11:45 pm |
    • Chaplain's wife

      For God and country! Amen!

      May God comfort and strengthen CH (CPT) Goetz's family as well as the families of all service members who have given their lives. My husband is currently serving in Kandahar, Afghanistan as an Army Chaplain. The Chaplains are not allowed to carry weapons, but are willing to put themselves in harm's way to support the troops, regardless of religious preference or denomination. May the Lord watchover and protect all of our service members. God bless you all and God bless America.

      September 3, 2010 at 1:25 am |
    • sister of a Chaplain in the US Army

      My brother, a priest from the Atlanta Archdiocese and, for the last two years, a chaplain in the U.S. Army at Fort Carson, Colorado, has been given the word that he will be taking Captain Goetz's place in Afghanistan. I pray for the Gpetz family, and I pray my brother returns home safely. Godspeed, Fr. Kevin. We love you so much.

      September 3, 2010 at 10:46 pm |
  11. tnusagirl

    Are you kidding me? What a heartless monster you are.

    September 2, 2010 at 9:58 pm |
    • ML

      Rest in peace Chaplain Goetz you were a great man and served well as a chaplain. You've served the Soldiers and their families well. I am in shock and saddened to hear of the news. I could not believe that the news of his death was true until I saw his picture on the television. Thanks for being a true man of God. May you rest in peace. You have served so many and I know the Angels in heaven are rejoicing. May God comfort your family for he has given so much and never hesitated to comforted families in the same situation. Sincerely a Soldier from Okinawa, Japan.

      September 2, 2010 at 11:52 pm |
  12. emiley rose

    Mango,,,,,,,this chaplain/soldier, along with the soldiers that died is a hero, you are nothing but scum. They are guarding heaven's gate now, you are still nothing. God bless YOU !!!

    September 2, 2010 at 9:55 pm |
  13. jo

    what are you laughing at? That a chaplain died alongside four other soldiers? You must have an odd sense of humor when it comes to things like that. Chaplains are hard to come by when it comes to being in the army. But when you find a good one you can trust, it makes a world of difference to a hurting soldier.

    September 2, 2010 at 9:55 pm |
  14. Greg

    You know, as a soldier, I can understand deaths in combat troops. Its honesly kind of shocking to hear of a chaplain getting killed. And its sad, as well, because as a Battalion Chaplain, you're the service leader every Sunday, and I can only think of the morale of the men he served with, because right now, its probably shattered.

    I just want to say Rest In Peace to all my brothers and sisters who have given their lives for our country. And to this man, and his family, my prayers are with you. Chaplains are special because they choose to spread the word of God in the world's most dangerous places. It is every bit as brave and corageous (SP) as being an infantryman on the front line.

    September 2, 2010 at 9:48 pm |
    • BellaItaly

      Well here is an interesting story. It is a true story about 4 chaplains on board a ship who gave up their lives for others. You see some of the sailors didn't have life jackets on. The chaplain's started taking off their jackets and giving them to the sailors. The chaplains were of different faiths. I think one was a catholic priest, a rabbi and am not sure what faith the other 2 were. All 4 chaplains were arm in arm as the ship went down and they died. I know one year my husband who was a chaplain's assistant at the time when he was on active duty and retired in 95, went to the Chaplains Ball and still then they celebrated these chaplains. They were heroes. All of our soldiers are heroes no matter what their jobs are. Thank you military.

      September 2, 2010 at 11:40 pm |
  15. Paul

    This is the closest that war has touched my family. Both my wife and I attended seminary with Dale.

    We are grateful for Dale's service to those on the front lines, and to have had the chance to know him.

    May the Lord grant his family grace in their need, and the comfort knowing that Dale is present with our Savior.

    September 2, 2010 at 9:40 pm |
    • Frogist

      I'm sorry for your loss, Paul. It's not much, I know, but I'm sorry.

      September 3, 2010 at 2:54 pm |
    • peace2all


      Sorry for your loss......


      September 3, 2010 at 2:56 pm |
  16. autom

    Instead of "selfless servant of god", it should say "selfless servant of A god". There's no proof the one he worshiped is the correct one, and worthy of being designated as "the" god. As a non-Christian that spent 8 years in the military, the Christian proselytizing is so freaking blatant. Forced prayer sessions. Extra duty for not going to church. They even sent a chaplain to me one time when I was sick and had quarters to preach. We'd go to the post chapel for classes or briefings, presumably for the seating, but the chaplain always takes the floor at some point.

    September 2, 2010 at 9:39 pm |
    • Thorrsman

      Funny, but when I was in, there was no "forced prayer". I've been a Pagan for a long, long time, and never had any problems when I served. Knew a few Wiccans and other "less traditional" believers, and never heard a word from any of them about "Christian oppression" either. Like so many things, I suspect that too is in the "eye of the beholder".

      September 2, 2010 at 9:48 pm |
    • jo

      don't know where you were stationed, but I have never had someone preaching in my face all the time or forcing me to pray or anything like that. Take the time to focus on the fact that he was one of five good men who lost their lives that day and not on the fact that he was a Christian. This is not the time to get political or anything like that over someone's death. It sickens me when I hear about my brothers and sisters dying everyday for freedom's sake and people using their deaths for political gains.

      September 2, 2010 at 9:53 pm |
    • jackson

      Well Sir...you are a db. The end

      September 2, 2010 at 10:32 pm |
    • Sarah

      Sir, each of us has a right to worship as we please. If the Major General wants to say "selfless servant of God," that is his choice as an American under the first amendment. My prayers go out to the family, and I am motivated by his faithful service in dangerous places ministering to the brave men and women who fight for our freedoms (even those amendments!).

      September 2, 2010 at 10:39 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      Sorry, I call BS on this one. I've spent 27+ years in the Army. I've NEVER heard of ANY of the horse pucky you're spouting off about.
      I can only assume you did NOT serve any ANY branch of the US Armed Forces.

      September 2, 2010 at 11:48 pm |
    • Jon

      As a Vietnam vet draftee and a hidebound atheist, I recall in basic being given the option of chapel or KP. Easy choice, KP had value and purpose. I did the useful thing.

      September 3, 2010 at 2:56 am |
    • CatholicMom


      If I were a non-Christian and had a meeting in a chapel with all my Christian comrades and had to listen to words that uplifted them before they went out to do their job, I would be thankful, knowing now that they believed themselves better equipped to do the job which would be a good thing for my own life out there.
      May those dear families receive the peace that only God can give….
      Peace be with you all….

      September 3, 2010 at 10:42 am |
    • Frogist

      Ok, so that was my concern. I don't know many military people. My father-in-law is a coastie but that's all. So is that really the option? Go to chapel or do extra duty? And is chapel just christian in nature? Personally, if those were my only options, I would also feel like christianity was being pushed on me.
      Also doesn't this sort of present an exception to the separation of church and state?
      I just want some honest answers so I can be better informed.

      September 3, 2010 at 12:39 pm |
    • Kate


      The Military Chaplain vs Separation Clause argument has been going on for a long time. Sometimes it does come across as forcing one religion, but to be honest, religion isn't the only thing a padre does.

      In all kinds of ways the padre is an alternate route for the troops. The list of things they do goes beyond spiritual – they're pshrinks that aren't pshrinks, they're counselors, social workers, a friendly ear, someone to ask "why?" to ... Wzrd's example works well too.

      They're part of the military but they're not as well, they're parallel to the perception of the chain of command. You can talk to them about things you'd never talk to your gunny about, and in a lot of cases be assured of anonymity, nothing on paper.

      And it works the other way too, they're a way for OCs to keep their thumb on the pulse of their troops.

      As has been said, you find a good padre, you hold on to them.

      September 3, 2010 at 12:47 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Kate: From the posts on this board I can see why they are important now. I still feel oddly uncomfortable with a state-sanctioned religious post esp within the military. If I put that aside and just deal with the practicality of having someone who provides as many services as this person does, it seems like the good of them far outweighs the bad. I know it's an ends justifies the means kind of argument. That too makes me uncomfortable. Part of me says the chaplain post has to do more with tradition than religion. I can't really see anyone in the army in the good old days being more comfortable with a therapist than a man of the cloth. I guess I just wish they were civilian instead of military. I will have to find a way to reconcile this within myself although the fact that it is not a solely christian position helps greatly.

      September 3, 2010 at 2:51 pm |
  17. Greg

    How can we help his wife and kids, other than prayer? Will there be a scholarship or memorial fund set up to help? Every tragic death is sad for us left here on Earth, but I sure commend Captain Goetz for doing what he thinks God called him to do, supporting others. Blessing upon him and the other men and woman supporting our service people.

    September 2, 2010 at 9:25 pm |
    • Heather

      I grew up with his wife. Yes, there is a Memorial Fun set up:
      Dale A Goetz Memorial Fund.
      Address: The Bank at Broadmoor
      155 Lake Avenue
      Colorado Springs, CO 80906

      September 3, 2010 at 5:00 pm |
  18. Kyle

    May God bless you. Rest in peace. You served in selfless position... Giving hope and the word of God to our troops.

    September 2, 2010 at 8:58 pm |
  19. Joel Cabrera

    May God bless and comfort his family and the families of the soldiers with him. The US has lost five great men that died for their country and they gave the ultimate sacrifice.

    September 2, 2010 at 8:52 pm |
  20. Kate

    As much as this is another sad "first" in recent years, and condolences go out to the families of those involved, can we not lose sight of the fact that they're not the only casualties, or "special" somehow?

    The loss of any and all of our troops is a tragic loss, lives given to defend others – I'm not entirely sure how I feel about CNN highlighting this one loss like this – even those who died with Captain Goetz only rate just one line in the article?

    Pick it up CNN.

    September 2, 2010 at 8:52 pm |
    • Jason

      Are you serious Kate? Read it as an article. Not as a political point that your trying to make. Yes all deaths are sad. They are pointing out a particular fact about this death (1st chaplain) becuase not many chaplains are in the front lines and exposed to such threats as this one man put his life into. Get off your soap box about "all deaths are important,etc" and mourn the lost of the "one" in particular as CNN is trying.
      My condolences and prayers go out to your family, sir, and I pray that they find peace in knowing where you are right now!!

      September 2, 2010 at 9:06 pm |
    • Shaun

      Very well said, Kate. I used to work at 7 WTC and I feel that way about a lot of the so-called "little people" who perished that day...

      September 2, 2010 at 9:11 pm |
    • Don

      Kate, you are surely missing the point. The article is about the Chapain corp"s first combat loss. If it were the first black soldier I am sure they would (and DID) report it. As well as the first woman and so on. The fact that they mentioned the rest of the soldiers who died briefly does not mean their sacrifice means any less. They will be talked about many times by many people. Believe me they will. This story is about the first combat loss of a chaplain and that is why it focused on him.

      September 2, 2010 at 10:14 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      Kate, as a veteran with 27+ years of service in the US Army, I can be very certain that were those men asked if it were OK to dedicate one line in the article as was done here to them and the remainder of the article to their Chaplain, they would dictate a LONGER article about him.
      On your worst day of your deployment, a Chaplain will always make time for you and assist making it at least tolerable if it is in his power to do so and frequently manage to do so lacking that power.
      When EVERYONE is suffering from 2 hours of sleep and miserable conditions, a Chaplain is there with a smile, warm coffee if it's available and reassurance.
      I've watched a chaplain who went into the field to support his men wade through two feet of mud to support the men, immediately after having foot surgery. Offering kind words, advice and religious services to ANY faith that presents itself.
      And while infantry will defend their medic with their lives, the medics will defend the Chaplain against the enemy, fighting just as hard, if not harder than the infantry, because medics get to see the things the infantry don't get to. They see that same Chaplain who was chatting earlier with a soldier now offering final services as that soldier lays dying.
      That Chaplain is the one who puts the medics heads back together when THEY lose it.
      And I'll be hanged if I ever DID figure out just WHERE all that great heart came from, as there is nobody for the Chaplain to turn to for that same support.
      So, I'll say only this, beyond any minister or priest or imam you'll ever meet, I respectfully submit that a military Chaplain must surely hear the voice of his or her God far more clearly than their civilian counterparts, otherwise they would never last a day of supporting our troops when things go horribly wrong.
      And I'm pretty sure I met him while I was deployed to Qatar.
      Rest well, Sir. You've earned it.

      September 2, 2010 at 11:42 pm |
    • Kate


      Bouncin' off my history on this one, my friend. I ain't saying the padre doesn't deserve the recognition, and you know that.

      September 2, 2010 at 11:49 pm |
    • UH60L

      I agree with Kate. When your a non-religious perosn, a chaplain does absolutely nothing for you on deployment , other tha harras you and attempt to force you to attend certain religious functions. Thats experience talking not just a rant. I got back from I raq in January.

      As a human being he was probably a great guy, and it is a tragedy when any person dies, and especially any soldier (sailor, airman, marine, coastguardsman etc). But as one of "the little people" I can understand exaclty what Kate is saying. We seem to elevate certain things or people above the rest in the interest of "a good story". What could have been done, is a story titled, 5 soldiers killed in IED attack, which could have mentioned all involved and then talked about how he was the first chaplain killed.

      The way it was worded sounded as if they didn't give hoot about the others: "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."

      So, what states were they originally from? Were they married? Did they have kids? What were their jobs (MOSs)? How many deployments have they been on? If I were a friend or loved one of one of them, and I read that story, I think i would be a little upset. That's my 2 cents.

      Don't get me started on that "no atheists in foxholes" BS either. It was stupid when it was first uttered years ago, and it's stupid now!

      September 3, 2010 at 1:03 am |
    • UH60L

      Sorry about thetypos in may other post, been a long day, and I'm tired.

      September 3, 2010 at 1:04 am |
    • Eco

      @Wzzrd1 – Beautifully said, I was already in tears reading the story, and your comments touched me even more so. My heart goes out to the families of all those we have lost. Our debt to them can never be repaid, we can only honor their memories.

      September 3, 2010 at 1:53 am |
    • Frogist

      @ Kate & Wzrd1: You're right that we don't pay enough attention to those lost. By mentioning the other soldiers as a one liner does feel like demoting their sacrifice to something secondary. I guess I'm a bit uninformed about the role of a chaplain. But Wzrd1's words showed me the significance that the loss of a chaplain's life could have. Either way, I send my best wishes to his wife and children. And the families of all lost in this way. By recent experience, I can only say that death is just a thoroughly undignified thing to happen to a person.

      September 3, 2010 at 12:28 pm |
    • aqui2lini

      He was a soldier disguised as chaplain becouse true christians never go to war, as Jesus loved and protected even his enemy. Later the Catholic Christian curch admitted just self-defence, excluding aging war attacking another country. So I have no regret.

      September 4, 2010 at 1:16 pm |
    • Reg Joe

      Chaplins can be armed if they want, he didnt that was my chaplin, he was a great amazing guy, Sir RIP GOD BLESS YOU AND YOUR FAMILY, you made a lot of guys in 1-66 believe

      October 21, 2010 at 3:25 pm |
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About this blog

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 with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.