Local News

Eight Bragg soldiers die from wounds sustained in Afghanistan

Posted July 16, 2010 6:29 p.m. EDT
Updated July 17, 2010 10:59 p.m. EDT

— Eight Fort Bragg-based soldiers died this week from wounds sustained in Afghanistan, the Department of Defense announced Friday.

The military identified the soldiers as Sgt. Zachary M. Fisher, 24, of Ballwin, Mo.; First Lt. Christopher S. Goeke, 23, of Minnesota;  Spc. Matthew J. Johnson, 21, of Maplewood, Minn.;  Spc. Jesse D. Reed, 26, of Orefield, Pa.; Spc. Chase Stanley, 21, of Napa, Calif.; Staff Sgt. Christopher T. Stout, 34, of Worthville, Ky.; Spc. Christopher Moon, 20, of Tucson, Ariz.; and Staff Sgt. Sheldon L. Tate, 27, of Hinesville, Ga.

"Their whole purpose was to make Afghanistan a safer place for our American troops and our Afghan partners, as well as every citizen of Afghanistan," said Col. Richard G. Kaiser, commander of the 20th Engineer Brigade to which four soldiers belonged.

"What more noble and selfless task could there be?" Kaiser continued. "They are true American heroes."

Goeke, Stout and Tate died Tuesday repelling an attack on a police compound in Kandahar, the center of a push to drive the Taliban out of southern Afghanistan. Insurgents used a car bomb, machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades.

Tate's last action was to drag a young paratrooper to safety, his company commander Capt. William Hofmann said.

"Hero is the only word that can be used to describe a man of Tate's caliber and moral fiber," Hoffman said.

Fisher, Johnson, Reed and Stanley died of injuries sustained Wednesday in the Zabul Province when insurgents attacked their military vehicle with an improvised explosive device.

Moon died Tuesday of his wounds at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany. He was on patrol July 6 in Afghanistan's Arghandab River Valley when he was injured by an improvised explosive device.

"These men were in the most dangerous spot on this Earth, doing what is arguably one of the most dangerous jobs that can be imagined – clearing roadside bombs or improvised explosive devices," Kaiser said. "They did so willingly, professionally and absolutely without fear."

Goeke and Stout were assigned to 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, while Tate belonged to the 782nd Brigade Support Battalion, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division.

Moon was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division.

Stanley, Reed, Johnson and Fisher served with the 27th Engineer Battalion (Combat Airborne), 20th Engineer Brigade (Combat).