Dining facility commemorates fallen chaplain
June 7, 2013
FORWARD OPERATING BASE WALTON, Afghanistan-Memorial Day is a time to commemorate Soldiers who have fallen in battle- past and present. Chaplain (Capt.) Dale Goetz is, to this date, the only chaplain to have been killed in war since 1970.
Goetz, who was the battalion chaplain for 1st Battalion, 66th Armor Regiment, 1st Brigade, 1th Infantry Division, out of Fort Carson, Colo., was killed August 30, 2010, when the convoy he was traveling in was struck by an improvised explosive device in the Arghandab Valley, Kandahar Province, Afghanistan. The strike killed four additional Soldiers.
"Dale Goetz was a chaplain that gave the ultimate sacrifice," said Chaplain (Capt.) Ronnie Irwin, 501st Brigade Support Battalion, 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division battalion chaplain.
Goetz was known to spend much of his time in the dining facility while deployed, getting to know his Soldiers, building relationships and interacting with them.
It would only be appropriate to dedicate a dining facility to Goetz. The dining facility at Forward Operating Base Walton was unknowingly already named after Goetz, discovered through a small sign, by Irwin and Chaplain (Maj.) Mark Nakazono, 1/1 AD brigade chaplain.
"We did a lot of research and we were not able to really determine how or why the facility was named for Chaplain Goetz, it is a little bit of a mystery," said Irwin. "We knew it had been named for him but we wanted to officially dedicate it and make sure the guests there knew the chaplain it was named for."
A ceremony was held at Walton, May 30, to formally dedicate the dining facility to Goetz.
"It's a great opportunity to memorialize him so Soldiers and other service members and civilians who go through can see what he's done and the kind of life he's lived," said Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Gregory Walker, 3rd Infantry Division and Regional Command-South chaplain. "He was a dirty boots chaplain; he liked to get out there and be with the Soldiers."
Dozens of Soldiers and civilians attended the ceremony, held at the chapel, to undrape the dedication poster. The ceremony then moved to the dining facility where it was officially unveiled to all the patrons.
"We took the opportunity as close to Memorial Day as we could to honor his life, his service and his sacrifice, as well as remember and honor our heroes who have fallen," concluded Irwin. "His ministry and his impact are not forgotten."