Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Because I Can, Because I Should

This afternoon I made time to go to Soldiers Memorial Chapel to pay my final respects to Maj. Andrew Olmsted, whom I met in person only once but came to know and like from reading his blog and occasionally corresponding with him. About 200 family members, friends, and follow Soldiers showed up, and everyone involved strove to make this a hero's funeral, with all the dignity and respect that entails. The Patriot Guard sent a detachment to ensure that no one from the hate group masquerading as a church would disturb the ceremony. One of the speakers asked, "Why is it that our best people should die in war?" The answer to that is, the best people are the very ones who answer the call and expose themselves to danger when their country needs them. That made a lot of sense to me.
The Rocky Mountain News ran an article about the funeral at: http://www.rockymountainnews.com/news/2008/jan/16/farewell-for-soldier-who-moved-many/
The obituary of Maj. Olmsted follows.

Olmsted, Andrew J.

Major Andrew J. Olmsted, age 37, died in Iraq on January 3, 2008 while serving with the US Army. He was born on February 1, 1970 in Bangor, Maine. Major Olmsted is survived by his wife, Amanda Wilson of Colorado Springs, his parents, Wesley and Nancy Littlefield Olmsted of Grafton, Wisconsin, a brother, Eric and wife, Corinne Olmsted of Watertown, Massachusetts, a sister, Catherine Olmsted of Grafton, Wisconsin, mother-in-law, Kathleen Wilson of Kingston, New Hampshire, brother-in-law, Ian D. (Gina) Wilson of Hudson, New Hampshire, niece, Elisha Wilson of Hudson, New Hampshire, grandmother-in-law, Ruth A. Wilson, North Andover, Massachusetts.

Andy received BA Degree in History and Government from Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts. He was an avid Red Sox fan; he enjoyed reading, watching movies and playing war games. He loved going to Disney World. Andy was also an Eagle Scout. Andy loved writing and was writing a blog for the Rocky Mountain News from Iraq.

Major Olmsted earned his commission through Reserve Officer Training Corps on 11 December 1992. He earned great respect from those he served with, beginning with his first assignment at the 66th Armor Battalion at Fort Hood, TX, where he served as A Company Platoon Leader, Assistant S3, and D Company Executive Officer. He then proceeded to Camp Casey, Korea, where he served as the S3 Air Officer for 72d Armor Battalion. In 1997 he returned from overseas to Fort Carson, Colorado, where for the next ten years he served in various positions and units, to include: 3d Brigade, 4th Infantry Division as the S3 Plans; HHC, 68th Armored Battalion, Commander; E Company, 362 Armored Battalion, Commander; 2d Brigade, 91st Division, Brigade S1; and 361st Engineer Battalion as the Battalion Executive Officer. His bravery, compassion and 'lead from the front' demeanor was displayed as the Team Leader, 1-5-1 Military Transition Team, 2/3 Armored Calvary Regiment, 2d Infantry Division, attached to 1st Infantry Division at Forward Operating Base Caldwell in Iraq.

Major Olmsted faithfully served our nation for over 15 years. His awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, three Meritorious Service Medals, four Army Commendation Medals, two Army Achievement Medals, the Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal, the National Defense Service Medal with Bronze Star Device, the Iraq Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Korea Defense Service Medal, the Humanitarian Service Medal, the Armed Forces Reserve Medal with "M" Device, the Army Service Ribbon, the Overseas Service Ribbon, the Joint Meritorious Unit Award, the Combat Action Badge, and the Parachutist Badge.

Funeral services will be at 2:30 PM on Tuesday, January 15, 2008 at Soldiers Memorial Chapel at Ft. Carson Army Base, Ft Carson, Colorado.

The Olmsted family requests that memorials contributions be made to Captain Thomas Casey Children's Fund, PO Box 1306, Chester, CA 96020 or The Home Front Cares, PO Box 38516, Colorado Springs, CO 80937-8516.
Published in The [Colorado Springs] Gazette from 1/12/2008 - 1/13/2008.

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