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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 Wicked Flee...
Thursday, December 6 at 4:47 AM

There are only so many ways for us to get from our FOB to our battalion's FOB. That means that the enemy has an easier time of targeting us if he so chooses, because there are so many places we can be. Since we want to spend our time targeting the enemy and not being targets, we are always looking for ways to turn the tables. The other day, the XO came up with a good one: he located an alternate route for us to take.

Whenever we get off the main roads, we see very different sites, largely because the Iraqis aren't used to our being there. Some of them even run when they see us coming, and indeed, a passel of them did as we were heading down this new route. These guys weren't content to just run, however. As our lead truck approached them, the men on the ground opened fire on us, actually striking the lead HMMWV several times. Our gunner returned fire at once, and the rest of us began maneuvering on the enemy, trying to bring our (hopefully) superior firepower to bear. Unfortunately, we were too slow, and the enemy was able to break contact and get away.

One of the more interesting things about being in contact was that, although the actual duration of the combat was probably less than five minutes, from that point on we couldn't be sure when it might return as we searched the area, coordinated with some helicopters, and did what we could to track down the enemy and finish him off.

Still, it was a reasonably successful engagement for us. Everyone stayed calm and relatively cool, we drove them off with absolutely no injuries or damage to us, and we established that the Coalition isn't afraid to face the enemy on his own turf. A pretty good day's work.


I loved your blog about putting the enemy on notice: that unexpectedly the Coalition Forces can be in their neighborhood/backyard at any point in time; breaking routine, what is familiar and expected. It was a wake up call for both sides to always be alert, to pay attention, and expect the unexpected. It also sounds like it was a good practice session for your team in being fired upon, and yet remain unharmed - thank goodness!! You are all in our prayers!

Posted by Wendy on December 6, 2007 07:27 AM

Dear Andy, It's is so interesting to read your comments as the information we get usually from the media is so discouraging. It's good to hear that you are making some progress to bring a reasonably peaceful life for some of the Iraqi people. They are living in such stress all the time. Please know that I am praying for you every day. Love you very much.

Posted by Aunt Allie on December 6, 2007 08:44 AM

These Iraqi's are obviously very brave to directly engage an occupying army trespassing on their country. Good for them!


Posted by optik on January 4, 2008 09:38 PM

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