A Prayer of Benediction for Chaplain Dale Goetz

Twelve years ago today (30 August 2010), Chaplain Dale Goetz was killed in Afghanistan ministering to his Soldiers. Not wanting to forget his sacrifice, I’m reposting this short prayer I prayed at a Memorial Ceremony for him at the U.S. Army Chaplain Center and School.

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FT. JACKSON, SC (3 Sep 10) – Recently, the Chaplain Corps lost one of its finest chaplains, Chaplain (CPT) Dale Goetz, in Afghanistan. We received the news here at the Chaplain School while attending the Chaplain Captain’s Career Course. Since many of us knew Dale, and the rest of us felt the camaraderie of a “Brother in Arms,” we felt it appropriate to have a Memorial Service for him. My part was to pray the benediction. As I prepared the prayer, I felt very impressed that Dale needed to be remembered. His sacrifice needed to be remembered. As I post it here, I pray it again . . .

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Our most Gracious God and Father,

We thank you for your presence and love which helps us to endure through difficult times. We thank you for moments like these when we don’t have to be alone but can gather among brothers and sisters in the faith. We thank you for the peace that you have brought us today, your peace—that can exist within us even when all around us there is no peace.

As much as you comfort us who have gathered here today, we pray that in an even greater measure you will comfort Dale’s family, especially his wife Christy and their three sons Landon, Caleb and Joel. Be for them all that they need you to be just now and continue to provide for them in every way in the days, weeks, months and years ahead that they face life without their husband, father and son.

Finally Lord, we pray that you will bring real peace to our land, so that we can rest in safety and comfort and not have to send our sons and daughters into harm’s way. Bring to us, we humbly ask you, the time when parents don’t have to grieve the loss of their children killed in war; hasten the day when spouses don’t have to say goodbye to their loved ones because they serve their country; provide for us, dear Father, a world whose children do not have to grow up fatherless because of the sin that envelopes us; and be victorious, Almighty God, over the Evil One, establish your Kingdom on Earth finally and forever, that we may enjoy your loving and peaceful presence for all eternity.

Go with us now, Lord we pray, as we reluctantly return to the world out there. Please don’t let us soon forget our brother Dale but help us to honor his sacrifice through our lives lived for your glory and Christ’s life lived through us.

“May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.” (Heb 13:20-21)

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Other 4th of July History

Fourth of July weekend at Gettysburg during the Civil War, remembering Chaplain Corby. Watch the 5-minute video to learn more!

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6 June 1944: D-Day

On 6 June 1944, the largest amphibious combat assault in history took place as Allied forces landed in Normandy by air and sea. Among them were 13 chaplains who parachuted in with the airborne troops and many more who landed on the beaches. Here are four videos that talk more about some of these chaplains who were with the troops on D-Day:

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This 7-minute videos tells the stories of several chaplains who jumped and landed with the D-Day troops.

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This 3 1/2 minute video tells the story of Chaplain Ignatius Maternowski who, after jumping into Normandy with his unit, became the only chaplain killed in action in D-Day, while trying to establish a joint American-German medical aid station to care for Allied and enemy wounded.

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This 4-minute video tells the story of Chaplain Francis Sampson who jumped into Normandy along with his unit, nearly losing his life in a river, then to a German firing squad, before continuing to minister to the wounded, dying and fighting.

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This 3 1/2 minute video tells the story of Chaplain Joseph Lacy who proved himself, caring for the physical and spiritual needs of his Ranger battalion as they landed on Omaha Beach on D-Day.

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Vietnam Chaplain Casualties

The last chaplain casualty of the Vietnam War died on Easter Sunday in 1971. He was the sixteenth chaplain to die in that war, 13 Army chaplains and 3 Navy chaplains. This 10-minute video briefly looks at those sixteen chaplains.

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First Jewish Chaplains

Non-Protestant Christian chaplains were not commissioned into the Army until the Civil War. The first of these were Jewish and the first Jewish chaplain to be assigned to a regiment was Ferdinand Sarner, on this day 1863. To learn more about Chaplain Sarner and the other “first” Jewish Chaplains, watch this video:

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Remembering Chaplain Leo P. Craig

On This Day in Chaplain Corps History, 5 April 1951, Chaplain Leo P. Craig was vesting to perform Mass for his unit when a nearby explosion beckoned him. After kneeling down to provide religious support to a Soldier wounded by a landmine, another mine was detonated taking the life of Chaplain Craig and the others around him.

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Remembering Reverend-Captain John Steel

On this day in Chaplain Corps history, 25 March 1756, Rev. John Steel was commissioned in the Provincial Army, to fight during the French and Indian War, while continuing to minister to his flock. He again took up arms during the Revolutionary War, becoming known as Reverend Captain Steel as he provided religious support while also commanding his unit.

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The Last Chaplain Killed in Action in the Korean War

On This Day in Chaplain Corps History, 11 March 1952, Chaplain Robert Crane was killed by North Korean artillery while leaving the front after providing worship for his troops. Chaplain Crane was the last U.S. Chaplain to be killed in action in the Korean War.

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Remembering Chaplain William Taggart

You have probably heard of Chaplain Taggart’s book, “My Fighting Congregation” but do you know his story?

On This Day in Chaplain Corps History, 27 February 1942, Chaplain William C. Taggart performed his duties -and more- so gallantly during fighting on the island of Java, that later that year he was awarded the Silver Star for his actions on this day in 1942.

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Remembering the 1st Chaplain Captured by the Germans in WW2

On this day in Chaplain Corps history, 16 February 1943, Chaplain Eugene Daniel was the first US chaplain to be captured by the Germans. Caring for wounded American -and German- soldiers, Chaplain Daniel was taken prisoner when the Afrika Korps overtook their position.

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You may find interesting the extended version of this video which includes video clips of Chaplain Daniel telling his story from a presentation he made to a high school class in the ’90s:

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