.- A Catholic priest is in critical but stable condition after being hurt by a roadside bomb in Iraq.
Fr. Tim Vakoc is believed to be the first military chaplain wounded in the war in the Middle East, a spokesman for Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., said June 8.
The 44-year-old priest suffered significant injuries to his head and left eye. Doctors have been keeping him in a chemically induced coma to allow his brain to heal.
The Minnesota native was wounded May 30, after having celebrated mass for soldiers in the field. He and his assistant, Spc. Nathan Copas, were returning to the Mosul Airfield when their convoy was attacked. Copas was not wounded.
Vakoc is the chaplain for the 44th Corps Support Battalion from Fort Lewis since 2002.
He was deployed to Iraq in November with the unit, whose mission is to provide logistical support to the Fort Lewis-based units, working across northern Iraq.