U.S. Army Chaplain (Maj.) Jeff Struecker will preach at all services Sunday at First Presbyterian Church, 1100 First Ave. The services are 8:30 a.m. (chapel), 9 a.m. (contemporary service in the Fellowship Hall) and 11 a.m. (main sanctuary).
The book and movie "Black Hawk Down" are based on the 1993 Battle of Mogadishu. At the time, then Sgt. Struecker was a 24-year-old squad leader assigned to Task Force Ranger as a part of the 75th Ranger Regiment.
In the film based on the battle, he is portrayed by actor Brian Van Holt.
He entered the Army as an enlisted soldier in 1987 and remained on active duty until April 2000 when he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Reserve as a Chaplain Candidate.
He was called to the ministry while serving with the 75th Ranger Regiment in Fort Benning, according to his bio.
Struecker served for 10 years in the 75th Ranger Regiment in positions from Ranger Reconnaissance Specialist to Platoon Sergeant. While serving in the 75th Ranger Regiment, Chaplain Struecker competed in the David L. Grange Best Ranger Competition for three consecutive years.
His efforts culminated with a first place finish in 1996.
His combat experience includes participation in Operation Just Cause in Panama, Operation Iris Gold in Kuwait, Operation Gothic Serpent, in Mogadishu, Somalia, and multiple tours in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, and Operation Iraqi Freedom. His awards for actions in these imminent danger zones include the Southwest Asia Service Medal (1 Service Star), Kuwaiti Liberation Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (2nd award), National Defense Service Medal and the Bronze Star Medal (with "V" Device for valor, 3rd award). He has received other medals as recognition for his service.
Chaplain Struecker holds a Master of Divinity degree from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., and a Bachelor of Science degree and Associate of Science degree from Troy University in Alabama.
Chaplain Struecker and his wife, Dawn, have five children: Aaron, Jacob, Joseph, Abigail and Lydia.