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Fallen 7th SFG soldier remembered by Congress and Jimmy John’s founder

By JIM THOMPSON | The (Santa Rosa Beach, Fla.) Walton Sun | Published: December 31, 2019

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. (Tribune News Service) — As planning for the funeral of Sgt. 1st Class Michael Goble is under way, the Army 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) Green Beret is being remembered by members of Congress, friends and a sandwich chain founder as a patriotic warrior who believed deeply in the U.S. presence in Afghanistan, where he died Dec. 23 as a result of combat action the day before.

According to one of those members of Congress, Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez of Goble’s native New Jersey, Goble was “within weeks of completing his fourth and final tour of duty when he made the ultimate sacrifice.”

Goble, 33, a member of the 7th Group’s 1st Battalion, was with his unit when its members discovered an undisclosed amount of weapons belonging to the Taliban in Kunduz Province in central Afghanistan. As Goble and others were clearing out the weapons cache, an explosion occurred, according to Eric Pahon, a spokesman for U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

Goble leaves behind partner Jennifer Albuquerque and a young daughter. Since receiving word of his death, Albuquerque has been with family in New Jersey helping to plan for Goble’s funeral, according to Lacy Seda, a friend and co-worker of Albuquerque at the Painted Rose Salon, a hair salon in Shalimar.

Seda, who has known Goble and Albuquerque for four years, said Goble “was very patriotic. He believed in what he was doing.”

As funeral arrangements are being made, Seda said, “his family is our priority.”

Meanwhile, a GoFundMe campaign aimed at assisting Goble’s partner and daughter had raised more than $150,000 of its $200,000 goal as of late Tuesday morning.

Among the GoFundMe donors is Jimmy John Liautaud, founder of the Jimmy John’s chain of sandwich shops. Liautaud, who prevoiusly has done similar things for military families, did not know Goble but said he made the donation out of respect for U.S. troops.

“Warriors enable us to be free,” Goble said in an emailed response to questions about his donation.

“It’s respect!” Liautaud continued.

Asked for his reaction to Goble’s combat death, Liautaud wrote, “There are no words.” And then, in all capital letters, he added, “RESPECT!”

Goble’s remains were returned to the U.S. on Christmas Day, arriving at Delaware’s Dover Air Force Base for the dignified transfer ceremony to turn the remains over to his family. Plans reportedly are under way to have Goble interred at Arlington National Cemetery, but no definitive information was available Tuesday.

Goble’s death came on the cusp of the Christmas holiday, but a number of members of Congress made time to note his passing.

Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., of Fort Walton Beach, whose district includes Eglin Air Force Base, headquarters of the 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne), posted on Twitter that “(a)t a time reserved for remembering when darkness was conquered by light, Sgt. 1st Class Goble proved freedom is worth defending in the face of evil. Northwest Florida and the nation mourns the loss of one of our greatest sons. I pray for peace on his family during this time.”

U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., issued a statement reading, in part, that Goble “served valiantly, with honor and distinction. New Jersey — and our country — owe him and his family a debt we can never repay. … A grateful nation is mourning today, and remembering a fine young soldier who made the ultimate sacrifice. May he rest in peace.”

Menendez called Goble “a true American hero,” and went on to note that the “threats and dangers our soldiers face each day are real. As I pray for the Goble family, I too pray for the day the fighting ends and all our troops can come home.”

©2019 The Walton Sun (Santa Rosa Beach, Fla.)
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