Most people who keep up with military blogs are, by now, well aware of the death of Major Andrew Olmsted. If not, I have included links to a few of the many, many blogs which share his story and/or give tribute to Major Olmsted in their own ways at the bottom of this post.
A member of Andy Olmsted’s family has just written me to say that if people want to do something in honor of him, they can send donations to a fund that has been set up for the four children of CPT Thomas Casey, who served under Andy and was killed while trying to help him. The address is here:
Capt. Thomas Casey Children’?s fund
P.O. Box 1306
Chester, CA 96020
Thanks so much.
If you want to see how this one man touched the lives of so many people, go here to see those who have mourned, remembered and honored him in their own ways on their blogs. Warning: there are an estimated 500+.
Now, here you can get to know the man behind the name, Andrew Olmsted, a man who affected many in action and in word, in person and online. While it is tragic that this man died, it is more of a blessing that he lived.
Why Andrew Olmsted Went to Iraq: Why Go to Iraq?
A common question among those who hear that I’m going to Iraq is ‘Why?’ A lot of Americans consider Iraq already a lost cause, and wonder what might drive me to willingly go there when I could get myself hurt or killed. As I noted in my first post, I’m not here to get into politics, but I think it is a reasonable question that deserves an answer.
The pat answer would be that I’m going because I’ve been told to do so, I’m a soldier, and soldiers obey lawful orders. It would be an accurate answer, too; I have been a soldier my entire adult life, and I am in the habit of going where the Army tells me to go, although this is by far the least pleasant deployment I’ll have in my career to date. But that doesn’t really get to the heart of the matter.
Major Andrew Olmsted’s Final Post, Which He Requested to be Posted in the Event of His Death in Iraq:
“I am leaving this message for you because it appears I must leave sooner than I intended. I would have preferred to say this in person, but since I cannot, let me say it here.”
G’Kar, Babylon 5
“Only the dead have seen the end of war.”
This is an entry I would have preferred not to have published, but there are limits to what we can control in life, and apparently I have passed one of those limits. And so, like G’Kar, I must say here what I would much prefer to say in person. I want to thank hilzoy for putting it up for me. It’s not easy asking anyone to do something for you in the event of your death, and it is a testament to her quality that she didn’t hesitate to accept the charge. As with many bloggers, I have a disgustingly large ego, and so I just couldn’t bear the thought of not being able to have the last word if the need arose. Perhaps I take that further than most, I don’t know. I hope so. It’s frightening to think there are many people as neurotic as I am in the world. In any case, since I won’t get another chance to say what I think, I wanted to take advantage of this opportunity. Such as it is.
“When some people die, it’s time to be sad. But when other people die, like really evil people, or the Irish, it’s time to celebrate.”
Jimmy Bender, “Greg the Bunny”
“And maybe now it’s your turn
To die kicking some ass.”
Freedom Isn’t Free, Team America
What I don’t want this to be is a chance for me, or anyone else, to be maudlin. I’m dead. That sucks, at least for me and my family and friends. But all the tears in the world aren’t going to bring me back, so I would prefer that people remember the good things about me rather than mourning my loss. (If it turns out a specific number of tears will, in fact, bring me back to life, then by all means, break out the onions.) I had a pretty good life, as I noted above. Sure, all things being equal I would have preferred to have more time, but I have no business complaining with all the good fortune I’ve enjoyed in my life. So if you’re up for that, put on a little 80s music (preferably vintage 1980-1984), grab a Coke and have a drink with me. If you have it, throw ‘Freedom Isn’t Free’ from the Team America soundtrack in; if you can’t laugh at that song, I think you need to lighten up a little. I’m dead, but if you’re reading this, you’re not, so take a moment to enjoy that happy fact.
The following are the many, many mass media accounts of Major Andrew Olmsted:
Guardian (UK), and again
New York Post
The Daily Telegraph (Australia)
Herald Sun (Australia)
AP, and again
Las Cruces Sun News
Stars and Stripes
Mail & Guardian Online (South Africa)
Editor and Publisher
The Topeka Capitol-Journal
again) (and again: video here.)
The Herald (UK)
New York Times
Boston Globe; and obituary
Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal (and another)
North Andover Eagle-Tribune
The MetroWest Daily News (and another)
National Journal (The Gate); also, Beltway Blogroll
Cedarburg News Graphic
Bangor Daily News, and again
The News Hour (PBS; last segment; honor roll)
Times Online (UK) (Web Grab)
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
NPR: Day To Day, All Things Considered
ABC-7 (The Denver Channel)
Colorado Springs Gazette, and again (obituary)
Arizona Star (AP)
WLBZ2 (Bangor ME)
Bangor Daily News
Northborough (MA) Villager
San Antonio Express-News
WCSH6 (Portland ME)
Passauer Neue Presse
Népszabadság Online (Hungary)
And these are simply the first 25 blog accounts mourning, remembering or honoring Major Andrew Olmsted. 25 of some 500+.
Unqualified Offerings (Jim Henley)
Unqualified Offerings (Mona)
Unqualified Offerings (Jim Henley, Take 2)
Amygdala, and again
TNR: The Plank
BlackFive, and again
Outside the Beltway
Balloon Juice (and again)