Fort Carson Honors 14 Who Died In Afghanistan
FORT CARSON, Colo. (AP) – Fort Carson is holding a memorial service Thursday for soldiers who died during a yearlong deployment in Afghanistan.
The 14 were members of the 4th Infantry Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team. The brigade finished a yearlong deployment in Afghanistan this spring.
The dead include Chaplain Dale A. Goetz Jr., a 43-year-old captain from White, S.D. He is believed to be the first chaplain killed in the line of duty since the Vietnam War. He and four others were killed on Aug. 30, 2010, when a roadside bomb hit their vehicle.
Other members of the 1st Brigade killed alongside Goetz that day were Staff Sgt. Jesse Infante, 30, Cypress, Texas; Staff Sgt. Kevin James Kessler, 32, Canton, Ohio; and Pfc. Chad D. Clements, 26, Huntington, Ind.
The fifth person killed that day was Staff Sgt. Matthew J. West, 36, Conover, Wis. He was a member of Fort Carson’s 71st Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group, which is not part of the 1st Brigade.
The other 1st Brigade soldiers being honored Thursday were 1st Lt. Mark A. Noziska, 24, Papillon, Neb.; Staff Sgt. Casey J. Grochowiak, 34, Lompoc, Calif.; Staff Sgt. Carlos A. Benitez, 24, Carrollton, Texas; Spc. Rafael Martinez Jr., 36, Spring Valley, Calif.; Pfc. Tramaine J. Billingsley, 20, Portsmouth, Va.; Sgt. Robert C. Sisson Jr., 29, Aliquippa, Pa., Sgt. Ken K. Hermogino, 30, Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.; Spc. Timothy L. Johnson, 24, Randolph, N.Y., Spc. Pedro A. Millet Meletiche, 20, New Jersey and Pfc. Eric Soufrine, 20, Woodbridge, Conn.
Fort Carson officials said a total of 325 soldiers from the post have died in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Later Thursday, the 1st Brigade will get a new leader, Col. Joel K. Tyler. Tyler will succeed Col. Jeffery Martindale in a ceremony Thursday afternoon.
Tyler was previously a student at the Naval War College, where he graduated in June. Martindale will become commander of the Operations Group at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center in Hohenfels, Germany.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)