Army chaplain first slain in combat since Vietnam


ARLINGTON, Va. — The chaplain who died Aug. 30 in Afghanistan is the first U.S. Army chaplain to be killed in the line of duty since the Vietnam conflict, according to Army officials.

Capt. Dale Goetz, 43, was killed by a roadside bomb that exploded under his convoy. Goetz, an independent Baptist, had reportedly been in Afghanistan less than a month. Four other soldiers perished alongside him.

An Oregon native, Goetz graduated from Maranatha Baptist Bible College in Watertown, Wis. and Central Baptist Theological Seminary of Minneapolis in Plymouth, Minn. The independent Baptist school is not related to the similarly named Central Baptist Theological Seminary in Shawnee, Kan., which relates to American Baptist Churches USA and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. His chaplaincy endorsement was through the American Council of Christian Churches, a coalition of small independent and fundamentalist denominations formed as an alternative to the mainline National Council of Churches.

Goetz was stationed at Fort Carson in Colorado Springs, Colo. He and his wife, Christy, had three sons, according to a tribute posted on Maranatha Baptist Bible College's website. Jason Parker, Goetz's pastor at High Country Baptist Church in Colorado Springs, said the Goetz family had been transferred to Colorado in January after three years in Okinawa, Japan.

The church website said that Goetz served with the infantry at Fort Lewis, Wash., before being transferred to Okinawa. Goetz 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. Goetz had earned the Meritorious Service Medal and was a three-time recipient of the Army Commendation Medal.

He added that the late chaplain "was passionate about seeing his soldiers turn from their sin and trust in Christ as their Savior. He wanted men to know the eternal joy of knowing Christ."

According to the Colorado Springs Gazette, the chaplain told friends that three soldiers had accepted Christ since he arrived in Afghanistan.

He reportedly joined the Army in 2000, going there from the pastorate of a church in White, S.D. He also served a tour in Iraq.

According to High Country Baptist Church, a trust fund has been established at a Colorado Springs bank in Goetz's name. Contributions will help "to provide quality, biblically sound books and other printed materials for chaplains to use in their ministry to the soldiers," a statement about the fund on the church's website says. "Dale always wished he had more good materials to distribute, so Christy would like to help meet that need for other chaplains through this fund."

Goetz's funeral was held Sept. 9 at Fort Carson's Prussman Chapel.

ABP News Service

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