|From The Idaho Statesman IdahoStatesman.com
Gowen Field chaplain dies suddenly in Africa
'The Guard is a family. ... Now, the one we leaned on for strength is no longer able to help us,' one reservist says.
For 19 years, Lt. Col. Joseph "Art" Moore ministered to hundreds of Idaho National Guard soldiers and airmen. On Tuesday, he died at a base in Djibouti, Africa, where he was deployed on a seven-month tour with the U.S. Air Force.
Idaho National Guard officials said Moore died of natural causes but didn't have other details. His remains, according to the Air Force Times, were expected to first be taken to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.
Djibouti is just south of Yemen and Saudi Arabia in Northeast Africa, a strategic location at the entrance of the Red Sea and near the world's busiest shipping lanes.
Moore, 54, worked full time as a military chaplain, providing spiritual guidance to Idaho National Guard soldiers and airmen regardless of denomination.
"Art was an outstanding human being," said Lt. Col. Tim Marsano, who worked with Moore over the last 19 years. "He was our 'go-to-guy' when a soldier (or airman) needed help."
For many military personnel, the chaplain is the soul of the unit.
"It's bad enough when regular military personnel die, but when a chaplain dies, it can just be devastating for a unit," said retired Air Force chaplain Maj. Thomas G. Westall of Mountain Home, who knew and consulted Moore several times over the years. "With the chaplain, you know him on a whole different level and talk about the major things going on in your life.
"It is so uncommon that when it happens, it's really tough."
Susan Gramkow, a reservist in the Idaho Air National Guard who also works as a full-time family readiness assistant for the Idaho National Guard, knew Moore for almost 20 years.
"The Guard is a family. We help each other through things," Gramkow said. "Now, the one we leaned on for strength is no longer able to help us. It is a very helpless feeling."
Initial reports did not disclose a suspected cause of death. Marsano said there were no indications or history of long-term illness, and if there were, Moore would not have been deployed overseas.
Moore is survived by his wife, parents and daughter in the Boise area. The family asked for privacy but released a statement Wednesday morning.
"Art loved the military, loved working with the people and loved traveling as part of his military duties. Being a minister to service members was dear to his heart, and he was available to help anybody at any time," the statement read.
"He enjoyed life, and his family always came first. He loved his family, loved his career, loved Idaho, and anybody who knew Art also knew he also loved fishing. We loved Art and we will miss him."
Marsano said Moore's official denomination was the Southern Baptist Convention. No matter what belief system an airman or soldier had, Moore was always there.
Marsano said two projects close to Moore's heart were marriage-enrichment seminars and counseling he would provide to airmen and soldiers in the Idaho National Guard. He also was dedicated to his work educating people on suicide prevention.
Gramkow said she often referred airmen who had problems to Moore for counsel. She, too, leaned on Moore's wisdom to help her deal with the stress of her job - which is to get Guard families ready for troop deployment.
"Anytime one of my airmen would have any issues, like a divorce of a financial stressor, I would refer them to Art because he would know what to say and when to say it," Gramkow said. "He has also been my spiritual adviser, my biggest cheerleader over the last 19 years."
Maj. Gen. Larry Lafrenz, Idaho's adjutant general, said Moore provided important spiritual and moral guidance, common sense and friendship to most members of the Idaho National Guard at one time or another during his career.
"He was always there for us when we needed him, and we will miss him more than words can express. Our thoughts and prayers are with Art's family at this difficult time."
|From The Air Force Times airforcetimes.com
Chaplain dies in Djibouti
By Patrick Winn - Staff writer
Posted : Friday May 23, 2008 17:12:34 EDT
A high-ranking Air Force chaplain died of natural causes Tuesday in Djibouti, where he was serving a tour ministering to Operation Enduring Freedom troops.
Lt. Col. Joseph A. Moore, 54 — known as “Art” — served full-time as chaplain for the Idaho Air and Army National Guard. Moore was a 19-year Guard veteran and Boise resident currently assigned to the Idaho Air National Guard’s 124th Wing. He leaves behind two parents, a wife and a daughter, according to Lt. Col. Tim Marsano, an Air National Guard spokesman.
“He loved his family, loved his career, loved Idaho and anybody who knew Art also knew he loved fishing,” Moore’s family said in a statement. “Being a minister to service members was dear to his heart and he was available to help anybody at any time.”
The Air Force’s incoming Chief of Chaplains, Cecil Richardson, a major general select, was slated to arrive Wednesday at Delaware’s Dover Air Force Base, where Moore’s remains are expected to arrive.
Moore was serving a seven-month tour in Djibouti, home of Camp Lemonier and Operation Enduring Freedom — Horn of Africa.
Idaho’s adjutant general, Maj. Gen. Larry Lafrenz, credited Moore with offering “spiritual and moral guidance, common sense and friendship” to Idaho guardsmen. “He was always there for us when we needed him and we will miss him more than words can express.”