Members of Capt. Dale Goetz's church back in Colorado Springs are mourning the loss of the U.S. Army chaplain following his death earlier this week.
"He had a great burden for the soldiers," recalled Jason Parker, pastor of High Country Baptist Church of Colorado Springs. "His specific prayer request was to see 300 soldiers come to Christ. He was also praying for God to call ten of those soldiers into the ministry. That was one of his specific prayer requests."
Goetz, 43, was killed near Afghanistan's Kandahar Province when an improvised explosive device struck his convoy as it was traveling on Aug. 30. Four other soldiers were also killed but Goetz was reportedly the first U.S. military chaplain killed in action since the Vietnam War.
"Dale was a selfless servant of God, a devoted husband and father, a strong American patriot, and a compassionate spiritual leader," said the Army Chief of Chaplains Maj. Gen. Douglas Carver in a statement.
Goetz's love for soldiers, he added, "was only surpassed by his firm commitment to living his calling as a United States Army Chaplain."
Before joining the army as a chaplain in 2000, Goetz served as a pastor at First Baptist Church in his hometown of White, S.D. Aside from Afghanistan, Goetz had also served as war zone chaplain in Iraq for almost a year in 2005.
Goetz was transferred to Colorado in January after three years in Okinawa, Japan.
A 1995 graduate of Maranatha Baptist Bible College in Watertown, Wis., Goetz officially became a member of High Country Baptist Church on Aug. 1 - the day he was deployed. Goetz had been in Afghanistan less than a month when he died.
"We officially voted them into the membership Sunday," Parker reported.
"God was using him. He was very actively witnessing. He didn't want to be just a social worker. He wanted to see soldiers hear the Gospel and trust Christ," the pastor added.
A funeral has been set for Sept. 8 at 10 a.m. at Soldiers' Memorial Chapel at Fort Carson in Colorado Springs. According to reports, Goetz will be buried at Fort Logan National Cemetery in Denver.
Goetz is survived by wife, Christy, and three sons – Landon, Caleb, and Joel. His youngest son, Joel, was born in July of 2009.