2 Minnesota soldiers killed in Afghanistan

10:46 PM, Jul 16, 2010   |    comments
  • Spc. Matthew Johnson, 1st Lt. Christopher Goeke
  • 1st Lt. Christopher Goeke, 23
  • Spc. Matthew Johnson, 21
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Two Minnesota soldiers were killed in separate attacks in Afghanistan this week. Spc. Matthew Johnson was killed by an improvised explosive device on Tuesday, July 13th in Lagman, Afghanistan.

Johnson was a 21-year-old member of the 618th Engineer Company, part of the 18th Airborne Corps based at Fort Bragg, N.C.

Johnson's family says he went to North High School in St. Paul and loved hunting, fishing, snowboarding, skateboarding and basketball. He joined the Army in 2008.  In a statement his family said Johnson was very proud to serve in the military."  It says he will be deeply missed.

He's the second North High graduate to be killed in the gulf. Gregory Rundell, a member of the class of 2005, was killed by snipers in Iraq in 2008. He was also 21 at the time, and in the U.S. Army.

Apple Valley soldier

First Lieutenant Christopher Goeke was also killed on Tuesday from wounds he received while responding to an enemy attack on an Afghanistan National Army facility in Kandahar City.

According to a statement released by his family, Christopher Shultz Goeke, 23, was born in Cleveland, Ohio and grew up in Apple Valley, Minnesota. Goeke attended Apple Valley High School and the United States Military Academy at West Point, where he was 6th in his class. 

Pete Buesgens was Goeke's social studies teacher at Apple Valley High School said he has known Goeke since he was 12-years-old.  When Buesgens first heard of Goeke's death, he said, "The first thing I thought of is we lost a great one."  He said Goeke was always focused on his future.

In a statement, Goeke's family said, "He passionately participated in mission work, Sunday school teaching, bible study, jazz band, mock trial, Team Ramrod Frisbee and football intramurals."  It continued,  "He was a beloved leader among his peers and always brought smiles, laughter and wisdom beyond his years."

First Lt. Goeke served with the Ft. Bragg, North Carolina-based C Company, 1st Battalion, 508th Infantry of the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division. He joined the Army in 2004 and his family says he was very proud to serve in the military.

The Goeke family said Christopher Goeke "will be deeply missed by his father, mother, brother and sisters, as well as his wife and loving friends. Christopher lived passionately, loved completely and searched earnestly for truth. His legacy will never be forgotten."

(Copyright 2010 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)

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