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THE DEATH OF ANDREW OLMSTED
Major Andrew Olmsted, who posted a blog since May 2007, was killed in Iraq on Jan. 3, 2008. Olmsted, who had been based at Fort Carson in Colorado Springs, began blogging after his unit was sent to Iraq with the mission of helping train the Iraqi Army. A sniper killed Olmsted as he was trying to talk three suspected insurgents into surrendering. A sniper's bullet also cut down Capt. Thomas J. Casey. They were in Diyala province, northeast of Baghdad.

Olmsted was determined to make a difference in Iraq. "The sooner the Iraqi government doesn't need U.S. support to provide security for its people, the sooner we will probably be asked to leave."
The Best Laid Plans
Friday, November 2 at 1:38 PM

One of the best things about this job, at least for me, is that I'm blessed with such an excellent team. My job might be pretty difficult if I was saddled with a bunch of guys who need a lot of external motivation and oversight. But I have a team filled with guys who figure out what needs to be done and go and do it. I suspect that a lot of the officers and NCOs from the team will end up being big stars for the Army down the road thanks to their combination of work ethic and basic intelligence.

Unfortunately, sometimes their hard work can run into some tough sledding. Earlier this week we were all set to do a big project that would have meant a pretty major improvement to our area of operations. As I just noted, my contribution to that project was pretty small: the guys came up with the concept and conducted an incredible amount of coordination to pull all the support together for the mission. It took several weeks, as this was no small project, but they got it all, and at no cost to the Army.

Our mission relied, among other things, on some assistance from our IA unit. They work well with us and they had no trouble helping us out, but when push came to shove, something came up at the last minute and we had to turn off the mission almost immediately after we started. A bit frustrating, to put it mildly.

Does this mean we're giving up? Far from it. Besides, even if I wanted to, I suspect the guys would insist on doing the mission because it's the right thing to do. So, with a little luck, in due time I'll be writing up a diary of a fully-successful mission soon.


READER COMMENTS

Dear Andy, I was worried when we didn't hear from you for so long but I was praying for God's angels to protect you. Anyway, glad to hear from you again. You must be a great leader if you men feel free to instigate missions and approach you with ideas. You're a credit to your country, the army and of course your family who loves you dearly.

Posted by Aunt Allie on November 2, 2007 06:43 AM

You are very fortunate to have such great guys who are able to work so well independently and as a team. It is impressive that they can devise major improvements without costing the Army money. It is also heartening to hear that the Iraqi Army is cooperative and receptive to new ideas. Working together on a mission helps build understanding and respect between our peoples. I hope your men's plan comes to fruition, so we can read about their success soon. Good luck.

Posted by Amanda on November 3, 2007 05:26 PM

You are very fortunate to have such great guys who are able to work so well independently and as a team. It is impressive that they can devise major improvements without costing the Army money. It is also heartening to hear that the Iraqi Army is cooperative and receptive to new ideas. Working together on a mission helps build understanding and respect between our peoples. I hope your men's plan comes to fruition, so we can read about their success soon. Good luck.

Posted by Amanda on November 3, 2007 05:26 PM

Major, you sound well and in good spirits. Never a day goes by when we don't think about you and your men. It is great that you have such a strong team to work with. May the days ahead of you be filled with many successes. Thank you for writing this blog. It helps us greatly to hear that you are all OK. Our best to SFC Beaver and the rest of the team.

Posted by Lynne Dolan on November 11, 2007 08:56 PM



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