News: Special Operations Chaplain memorialized in ceremony
Story by Sgt. 1st Class Jeremy D. Crisp
FORT BRAGG, N.C. – Chaplain (Lt. Col.) David. L. Spears spent nearly 20 years as a U.S. Army Chaplain, and he continued to serve his community and country until his passing from cancer at age 51 on Christmas Day, 2011.
Seven years of Spears’ career was spent ministering to the soldiers, civilians and family members of the 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne), and it was the Special Forces community that honored Spears life and service Jan. 12 by hosting a memorial ceremony for him at the John F. Kennedy Memorial Chapel here.
Deputy Commander of 3rd SFG, Col. Matthew Karres, spoke at the ceremony, and said Spears was an impressive man who was resilient and wise.
“The memory of Dave Spears will remain with everyone here … he was and forever will be a 3rd Special Forces Group soldier.”
Retired Chaplain (Col.) Pat Hash, former United States Army Special Operations Command Chaplain, described to the standing-room only crowd how Spears was a man of compassion.
“Dave Spears was compassionate about his family,” Hash said. “His eyes would light up when he talked about them.
“He loved soldiers and their families. He never put them before his love of God, but they were close.”
The ceremony included a roll call, in which Spears’ name was called three times before a 21-gun salute.
A bagpiper in traditional dress played Amazing Grace, and although not a Special Forces “Green Beret,” Spears was honored with the reciting of the Special Forces prayer and the playing of the “Ballad of the Green Beret.”
He joined the Army in 1993, and served in a variety of assignments, which saw him ministering overseas in Iraq, Afghanistan and Panama, as well as assignments stateside in Alaska, Kentucky, Georgia and at Fort Bragg.
Spears’ final assignment was as deputy command chaplain of the United States Army Special Forces Command (Airborne).
He is survived by his wife Wanda, of Jacksonville, Fla., daughters Rachel and Amanda, son Michael, and mother Ruth.