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January 06, 2008


A tremendously thoughtful and thought-provoking life has been taken. How sad it is that so many of us never knew of Major Olmstead until now. You who name him family and friend have my deepest condolences.
Thank you hilzoy and gary--my life is richer because of all you have done to remember Major Olmstead. It is that way sometimes--the good we do reaches beyond our imagining.

A tremendously thoughtful and thought-provoking life has been taken. How sad it is that so many of us never knew of Major Olmstead until now. You who name him family and friend have my deepest condolences.
Thank you hilzoy and gary--my life is richer because of all you have done to remember Major Olmstead. It is that way sometimes--the good we do reaches beyond our imagining.

From one Major (retired) to another, I sincerely appreciate your service to our country. Your blog brought tears to my eyes. I used to write a letter to my wife and family before every deployment. I would give that letter to my wife and ask her to open it if I did not return. The words in your bog enrich all of our lives and for that I am very grateful. In the profession of arms, I remain at your service.

My thoughts are with his family and friends.

My heart breaks to hear of this... and my prayers are out there for his family and friends... God bless them all... God bless America...

You are a shining example of what a true American is. What a gifted and intelligent man you are. And thank you for sharing yourself with the rest of us who are somehow unworthy of your sacrifice.

I think that Andy Olmsted's final post was beautiful, and I think his family and friends (whether they be internet friends or "in person" friends) have something new to treasure from their friend/loved one. It is a thoughtful and selfless thing that he did, writing that, and I'm sure it wasn't easy for him to do it. Condolences to all who knew him.

While I never met him,I feel I know him, because I have met others similar to him while in the service of my country myself. Major Olmsted is what most people just don't understand. A committed hero who serves because of a sense within them that those who don't have it will never understand.

Godspeed Sir, and peace be upon your family.

Top die doing what you loved most is the best way to die. While I might or might now agree with your desicions it is not important.

Thank you for your sacrifice, thank you for standing for what you believe in, thank you for teaching us that there are more than 1 side to this coin.

Rest in peace,
J. Rivera Indianapolis

Like a lot of these guys I never met you until you passed. You must have been a hell of a guy and those who where close to you where very blessed. I read your story and saw that you had a heart of gold and you did what you loved. Most people dream of being remembered by a few. You have touched my life so far away and I will tell others of your story. I wish I had met you I think you would have been a great friend, Cry.
To all your Family stay strong.

I mourn the passing of a soldier and warrior. "In pace requiescat."

The Major knew that the worst of war is the appalling waste. This talented man, volunteer, patriot, represents the best our country has ever produced. We spent him as we spend coin. He honored the contract and went, like so many before him. Thank you so much, sir, for making yourself human through your writings and published thoughts. And thank you again, sir, and again, for all you did for your country and your people. No one can do more. Rest well, you earned it, and I will look for you in the clearing where my path ends, to shake your hand and call you brother.

Andy, thank you for all that you gave. I wish you and your family peace.

CSSML-NDSMD James G. Robinson

You got the last word... I never knew you but I will now never forget you. Peace...

I just want to thank Andy - He, and all American soldiers are doing something that many of us could not. I hope his family and friends find peace in the fact he truly is a hero.

Thank you Andy! And my deepest condolences to his family and friends.

My exposure to Andy's blog is like most people nowadays... because of the news stories of his death. As a USMC Veteran and as someone who has many friends "in harm's way," I believe I can understand to an extent the mixed emotions of all of the folks who followed his blog. Personally, I wish I'd interacted with Andy though I did not.

One thing stands out in my mind, and I am sad that it took the death of a stranger for me to see it... He seemingly looked at his situation as one no different than any other... a condition of "life" and living it. His observations from what I've seen are like most of us, though he was articulate enough to write them when many of us aren't.

I am glad, this one time, that some things create a life of their own on the Internet. This was a man who deserves their mark placed on our society and our history, and to his wife, I say this: you had quite a man, and because of his place in our history, still do. God Bless Andy and all of those like him.

A friend at JPL pointed me to this blog. My thoughts go out to Andy's family and friends.
John Copeland

I just want to add myself to the huge and growing list of people whose lives have been touched by Andy's final words of wisdom. What an incredible human being and what a huge loss for us all. My heart goes out to his family and all who knew him.

I read about Andrew on Stars and Stripes, I am very sorry for his family. He was a great man and Leader. God Bless

I am humbled. I was directed to Andys final post by someone from the US, I myself being in England, and all I can say is that his candour and heartfelt joi-de-vive shines from every sentence. He was obviously a man who cared... something that far too many people just do not know how to do. My heart goes out to his wife, his family and his friends, I have no doubt he will be missed terribly.

Oh all the money that e'er I had, I spent it in good company
And all the harm that e'er I've done, alas, it was to none but me
And all I've done for want of wit to memory now I can't recall
So fill to me the parting glass, good night and joy be with you all

Oh all the comrades that e'er I've had, they are sorry for my going away
And all the sweethearts that e'er I've had, they would wish me one more day to stay
But since it falls unto my lot that I should rise and you should not
I'll gently rise and I'll softly call good night and joy be with you all

Tom Casey and Andy Olmsted
THANK YOU!! for making the ultimate sacrifice and for making the world a safer place for us and for future generations to live in.


What a wonderful person to have known and what a privilege to have called him 'friend'. I do believe in God and the hereafter and believe Andy and Amanda will be together again. Thank you, Andy and Amanda.

Had not heard of Andy or his writings until today. I'll go back and do some reading.

Your having been here did make a difference.

Simply said, that last blog touched my soul.
Brightest blessings to all of our military, their families and friends and especially to this fine soldier and great American's family and friends.

To The family and rest of the world,

Its a loss of a life, of a great person who like the most of us, lived by his principles and for the good of all humans. A martyr of the human cause, Andrew, i salute you!

God speed.

Im not someone to get emotional about much of anything. Hell I didnt even cry at my mothers funeral but this just gets me...I don't know what it is in me the B5 fan or the patriot or maybe just some small shred of human compassion but fucking damn this one got a tear out of me:( I never even read one of his blogs before 10 minutes ago. Too all of you that knew him though even though it hurts rejoice at the fact that at least you got to here from him one last time. Most get a few words he gave a lifelong synopsis...with my mother only a year ago we didn't even find her till at least 5 hours after she died.

"In a different reality, I could have called you friend."

Blessings to you, and to Amanda. For myself: when I die, may it also be while doing something I love. Thank you for the inspiration of your words.

Major Andrew Olmsted was killed in Iraq last week. He had written a piece for his blog to be posted if he died. it is a moving piece to his family and the nation he served and paid the ultimate sacrifice to. I read it and was moved to tears.

Now the very personal and overwhelmingly moving fact to me ...My son, Capt Aaron K. Buzzard, MD, US Army, treated Maj Olmsted, Capt. Thomas Casey and the other two wounded unit members. The ER team fought desperately to save them. Here is what Aaron wrote in his Iraq week 9 update about this very sad incident:

"One of the last traumas of the days was very tough. 4 Americans were shot by snipers on patrol. One was hit in the chin and the bullet passed right through his
face and neck without hitting anything major. And if that is not unbelievable enough, one of the other soldiers was shot in the back of his neck (right-to-left). His wound also was just meat and the
bullet did not hit any major structures. It was just mind blowing that both men will survive and do OK. Unfortunately the other 2 soldiers did not survive. One of them died in-flight from multiple gun shot wounds and the other soldier died in the ER from the
same. We tried for a long time to get his vital signs back, but he was just too seriously injured. It was my first time to witness a combat related death in person. Once he was pronounced, the entire ER became
incredibly quiet and the chaplain read a prayer and then performed his last rights. His body was then draped in an American flag and we all came to attention and saluted him as his body was rolled away.

Unfortunately, the soldier with the neck wound had to listen to our whole effort and the prayers that followed. He was very rave and just starred at the ceiling, but you could see how it affected him. Imagine what must have been going through his mind; he
was just shot in combat and came as close as you can to being killed, he was in terrible pain and he had to listen to a member of his unit being read his last rights and being rolled away covered in a flag. When people talk of courage-I think of these soldiers who
are on patrol and on the front lines here in Iraq, in past wars and of this young man. They all know what can happen to them yet they put on their armor, pick up their weapons and stare death in the face every

I also wonder if we would have the courage to do the same if we were placed in the same situation. I tell myself I would, but after seeing what can happen and the pain that it causes the families back home, I wonder if I really could. At least I have the luxury
of being able to ponder the what-ifs in my relatively safe office yet most soldiers here do not and I ask you to remember that, I know that I will. The next time you see a soldier, please take a moment to say thank you and to acknowledge the sacrifice that these young men and women are making by knowingly and willingly placing themselves in harms way to try and make a difference here and in the world."

CPT Aaron K. Buzzard, M.D.
Flight Surgeon, US Army
Emergency Physician
Fort Hood, Texas

The two soldiers who died being treated by my son and the great ER team were Major Andy Olmsted and Capt Thomas Casey. Two other wounded soldiers in the same unit made it.

Please honor Andy and Thomas by reading what Andy had to say in case he died serving his country--the website above. Then pray for their families. Then be thankful we have such brave and committed Americans fighting for our freedom. Then never forget the sacrifice of every man and woman who has given their lives to protect our way of life against Islamic terrorists who declared this war on us--not vice versa. And finally remember and thank EVERY military member you see who has gone in harms for us.

God Bless them all....

Frank and Jane Buzzard

In the immortal words of Ted Geisel
"Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened."(Dr. Seuss)

I came upon this by a story picked up by a wire service. I have two daughters, 18 and 21, who are both trying to understand war, why we are there, etc. But more than that, they are trying to figure out life and how to live a good one. I have just forwarded this to my children because as parents we often do not get the chance to really be "heard", because, after all we are only "mom" or "dad" and what do we know? This powerful, powerful message, in the format young people can relate to, can change lives - even a little bit - and if each of us gets the chance to do that, then haven't we gained immortality? My condolences, my deep regret, and my gratitude for this. Dani

Last week my cousin shipped out from Indiana as his Army guard unit prepares to deploy to Iraq. I feel responsible in a way because when he was contemplating his decision he talked to me since I had at the time had served in the Air Force for 10 years. We talked for a while and I told him that there would challenges but he would learn that soldiers, good ones at least, are not motivated by money, momma, the flag, medals, or any broad political ideal. Good soldiers are motived to do their best by their comrades beside them trusting that they in return will do the same. He nodded and later told me he had decided to join.

Last year he received his commission at Ball State and I flew in to be there. It was important to him and to me. I still feel responsible, but am a little uncertain about the kind of responsibilty I feel. I worry for his safety clearly. But at the same time I'm proud too.

I'd like to say that reading Major Olmsted last post had helped settle my feelings one way or another. It hasn't. It only made me wish that circumstances were such that I never had the chance to read it.

But I am hearted by one thing as I watch Lt. Broderick and his troops leave...if Major Olmsted, Capt Casey, Capt Buzzard and SFC Beaver are any indication of the kinds of soldiers he will join in Iraq, he will be in the company of good and honorable men.

May God bless them all and be with the families of Maj Olmsed and Capt Casey. Rest well, gentlemen.

Thank you so much soldier. God bless you. We owe you everything that we cherish. I am proud to be an American because of men like you.

The Princess Bride "Death cannot stop true love. All it can do is delay it for a while."

Thank you Andy!!


"There are 2 important days in a person's life: The day you were born and the day you realize why."

I had never read Andy's blogs except for his last. Call it a fluke. I never read blogs. My mouse somehow lead me to his.

Let me tell you, it changed my perspective on all angles of what life's purpose is.

Andy's love and zest for writing and expressing himself in "blog" form taught me that life's purpose is and can only be your own. Not some global answer that caters to the masses.

Andy said what he thought. He did that very well. Being a Major was his lot in life. He did that well too. HE DID IT HIS WAY. Burger King and Elvis had a corner on this phrase (or some form of it) and so did Andy.

As a wife of a man who puts his life on the line every day, I pray for Amanda. I pray that the hurt in her heart lightens someday, and that she feels all of these prayers from so many who knew and never knew her husband.

God Bless this very special man and his family.

C&J Roberts
Denver metro,Colorado

I consider myself a better person for meeting Andy even though it happened after his passing and just in the last 20 minutes.....and I'm sure he's telling you to "hug the laundry" in his own way...Amanda, you were a very lucky woman to have had Andy for the time you did - that's a joy most people will never in their lifetime enjoy. Take care.

I was very moved in reading your last post Andy. You've made me laugh and cry along the way, as I would read your blog because my son was there in Iraq for 12 months, too. You have given me such courage.

YOU will be missed entirely.
Only the good die young.

God bless the families and soldiers of our loving country.

Crying for Andy in Cajun Country at home safe and sound.

To all the Men and Women protecting us: Thank You!

The Lord has a good one there with him now. Godspeed Andy

Although I never met you or even knew of you until I read your blog, I feel a deep sadness for your family and friends. I can only hope that they gather their strength and pull through this. May you rest in peace Major.


If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
But make allowance for their doubting too,
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream--and not make dreams your master,
If you can think--and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings--nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much,
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And--which is more--you'll be a Man, my son!

--Rudyard Kipling

I just stumbled on this blog today. I don't feel worthy to even post a comment here... it seems like hallowed ground. For what it's worth, I want to thank these men and their families for what they've done ... and all the brave men and women who serve our country. I'll try to be a better American, and a better person, in their honor.

I didn't know you. Before today, I never heard of you, or read your blogs, and this makes me sad. I believe I have missed the musings of an intelligent, caring, unselfish person who did his duty, and yet still managed to stay true to his beliefs, as much as to his family, his friends, his
country, his government his allies.
I am sorry I never got to 'meet' you, Andy. I am proud of you and the stand you took, the job you did.
My heart breaks for your family, your friends and for those of us who never knew you.
May whatever God you subscribe to hold you in as much esteem and regard as I do, and may your light and your love never grow dim in the sight of your loved ones.
Rest assured brave soldier, your sacrifice is not un-noticed, un-appreciated, not by this American.
May the Gods bless you and keep you.
Thanks,honored soldier and thanks to your family for letting you go.
I wish I had known you. I wish I'd read your words before....

What can I add to this?


Andy Olmsted has said it all.

I sit here with tears in my eyes about this remarkable man. Life is so short, enjoy it while you have it. My heartfelt thanks to his family and to Andy for his sacrifice to save "others". Its not fair sometimes what life hands us but in the end, its still the human race. WE all upon this planet will answer for our actions. This is the kind of guy that I would be honored to have had the opportunity to "chill" with and have called "my friend".

Oh my. It would be nice if all our elected officials read Andy's last post. That was one powerful post hilzoy... and Andy. Thanks.

I recenlty heard a song by The New Order that I loved growing up in the 80's. I thought of Maj. Olmsted (and my nephew who died of his injuries on 5/24/07 due to an IED, PFC Mark R Caguioa) and all the brave men and women of our Armed Forces and how I wish they were home to their love ones.

With utmost respect,
Troy Aquino

New Order: "Love Vigilantes"

Oh I've just come
From the land of the sun
From a war that must be won
In the name of truth
With our soldiers so brave
your freedom we will save
With our rifles and grenades
And some help from God

(I want to see my family
My wife and child waiting for me
I've got to go home
I've been so alone, you see)

You just can't believe
The joy I did recieve
When I finally got my leave
And I was going home
Oh I flew through the sky
my convictions could not lie
For my country I would die
And I will see it soon

(I want to see my family
My wife and child waiting for me
I've got to go home
I've been so alone, you see)

When I walked through the door
My wife she lay upon the floor
And with tears her eyes were sore
I did not know why
Then I looked into her hand
And I saw the telegram
That said that I was a brave, brave man
But that I was dead

(I want to see my family
My wife and child waiting for me
I've got to go home
I've been so alone, you see)

being a military wife myself, I was totally moved by Andy's final post... It was heart warming, funny, witty and something everyone should read... It was like he gave closure to all who knew him... I'm a personal friend of Capt Casey and his beautiful wife Leslie he will be greatly missed!! I would like to send my condolences to the Olmsted family and my prayers are with you in this time of loss... Aloha from Hawaii

Let us, if we must, debate the lessons learned at some other time, today we simply say with pride: Thank you, dear son, and May God cradle you in His loving arms.
Roland Reagan

He passes now into the darkness and the light.
He is loved and missed.
He is Honored.
He will be remembered.

So Say We All.

Simply put, I did not know, or know of, Major Olmsted until a few moments ago. It is clear that he was a honest, compassionate, and reasonable human being and the world is worse for his loss. My sincerest condolences to his family.

Andy is on tonight's News Hour's tribute to Iraq and Afghanistan dead, along with Capt. Casey and the other men from his unit who died in the blast.

I was touched to read this and wondered where it had been before this death. My son told me "I don't usually pass these things on, but he and his thoughts are so sweet." I too saw the News Hour posting of the photo.

Rest in peace.... and thank you

I feel a great sadness that such a light has been extinguished. Heartfelt condolences to those that knew him and to his family. To Andy if words can reach you in the afterlife, thank you, may you rest in peace.

Each has won a glorious grave - not that sepulchre of earth wherein they lie, but the living tomb of everlasting remembrance wherein their glory is enshrined. For the whole earth is the sepulchre of heroes.

Monuments may rise and tablets be set up to them in their own land, but on far-off shores there is an abiding memorial that no pen or chisel has traced; it is graven not on stone or brass, but on the living hearts of humanity.

Take this man for your example. Like Andy, remember that prosperity can be only for the free, that freedom is the sure possession of those alone who have the courage to defend it.

One death is always too many but in pursuit of what end do we argue that point.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old; Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning We will remember them.

For those unaware, the still being updated set of links about Andy is in this post and thread, rather than in this thread.

Today is the first time that I ever came across any writings of Maj. Olmsted. I found his last post very interesting, captivating and though provoking. Wish I could have known him while he was alive but then as he himself pointed out, there are some things that come too late. And a lot of things that are worth being grateful for. May he rest in peace, as well as all the other soldiers who have died in the different parts of the world.

a million things come to my mind and they all are jamed inside it. I can only say I am sorry, sorry for Mayor Olmsted Family and Cpt Casey's family. We are all praying for you.

I can only cry.... When I think of my son in Iraq I listen to this song on Soldier's Angels.... Go to this link and listen....

God Bless Major Olmstead and Capt Casey... true Heros

So sad. [Sentence deleted by The Management.] God bless those two and their families.

thanks for bringing us this and thanks to Andy for being. I didn't know him until he was gone, but his writing allowed me to know him at all.

This man is a true American hero. His sacrifice will live on in the minds of hundreds of thousands of American patriots and the thought of more like him will make our enemy's tremble at the thought of our anger! I know that Major Olmsted was a fan of the show Babylon 5 specially a character named K'Gar. For this reason I dedicate this memorable quote to the cowards that murdered him straight from an ordinary American Citizen.

"With luck, we may never find you, but if we do, you will know pain .."
".. and you will know fear .."
".. and then you will die."

My hearts goes out to the families of Andy Olmsted, and CPT Casey, two of the best that America has to offer.

They gave it all for freedom, freedom isn't free, some one always has to pay the price. I would like to thank these families for their sacrifice. God Bless

Wow.... all I can say is wow. A dear friend suggested I read this and I am so glad he did. I lost my husband in July of 07, he was 37 and died of natural causes. Amanda, our situations are so different and yet we share one awful thing, we lost the ones we love way too soon. I know this will be of little comfort but I hope you realize how lucky you are to have Andy's words of love... I only wish my husband had the opportunity to tell me one more time. I know how lonely it is to lose the one you love so much, and how it feels like nothing will ever be okay again. It will.... I'm not there yet myself but I know it will. My thoughts are with you and your family Amanda, we share a bond no two people should have to share.

Andy's words were poignant and incredibly insightful and throughout the comments it is apparent that everyone took something different away from this last post... but what I am taking with me, and I thank you Andy for these words, is.... “I’m dead, But if you’re reading this, you’re not, so take a moment to enjoy that happy fact.” It's true, hard to remember but true. We all need to take a moment every day to be thankful for life and thankful for the people we have, here and beyond.

I will now wipe my tears and for a moment enjoy being alive.

my son just came home.. and he goes back again in a year.

my love and support to andy's family. we all stand together behind these warriors, even if we do not stand behind this war.

my son just came home.. and he goes back again in a year.

my love and support to andy's family. we all stand together behind these warriors, even if we do not stand behind this war.

It's 6am on a cold canadian morning and Im sitting in the dark spilling tears for Andy, the peace-maker.

Sci fi fans dont die. They live in the stars.

My heart and feelings are with you Amanda, one day you will be able to recognize that the sun shines for you. I promise.

andy is one hell of a man, and i hope that i dont ever have to be put in the same position as him cause i would probably choke it, and in reality he had the perfect reason to do what he did, his own, not controlled by someone else, and i respect him greatly for it

All that we are is the result of what we have thought. -Buddha

hell, after actually reading what was said under all of these blogs (some thousands), i c that everything i said was, in a sence, repeated from others. i can safely say that i agree with every positive comment towards andrew and his family, and that no matter what, this blog has helped me understand what decisions i should make, because this great soldier has taught me that the right decision is much more important than an easy-yet-wrong decision

just remembered, there was a site on msnbc that related to heros, stating that scientifically it is impossible to be a true hero because the people who were heros in the pact have a lower likeliness to survive. while that may be true, im sure that your heroism has inspired others to be as heroic as you, i know that i will try my best to follow the good/right decisions because of what i read, so i must say, everyone who knew andy personally, or anyone who has died in an heroic act, be proud that those people who proved to be heros have defied science doing so

Former military, just heard about Andrew and found my way here. I was more than "touched" by his last posting as were the thousands who posted here as well. Forgive me if what I am to suggest has already been suggested (I did not read everyone's posts) but someone should consider publishing his final post along with a selection of his others. It is a book I would gladly purchase. Any funds generated could then go to his family.

Just a thought as a way of continuing his legacy as well as helping out his family.

Rest in peace Andrew, my prayers for your family.

Andrew Olmstead represents the best in a soldier: thoughtful, romantic (last paragraphs), aware of what he was doing with full knowledge of its risks. He even understood,that anarchy paves the way for brutes. I think that once you start reading his last post that you will be unable to stop, so long as you keep in mind that he is a good man.

Olmsted. Not "Olmstead."

Gary -- please let hilzoy and Seb know that the post by John B. | January 10, 2008 at 12:07 AM needs to be deleted.

It was an honor to read the post of this man. he had dignity and honor. it is good to know that the world was made a better place for his having lived in it. I did not know this man and I only ran across his blog by chance, but I feel lucky to have done so. To have known such a man must have been a glorious thing, and the memories of his courage and bravery must bring comfort to a very empty place right now. all my prayers and love go to the family and also respect for the parents that created a kind, brave, intelligent and respectable person such as him

He was braver than I am.

I'm listening to Hilzoy in NPR talking about Andrew right now.

I'm glad I found my way to this last posting of Andy's today. With one brother in the army about to be re-deployed, another a federal agent, and having lost a brother to violence a few years back, I feel our family is doing more than it's fair share.

Having read his post I realize how important it is to as Gandhi said "be the change you want to see in the world." He epitomizes those words.

My condolences to his wife Amanda and his loved ones. From the post and his comments, he will truly be missed.

Although Andy commented more than once, that he was not sure there is an afterlife, I also read he hoped there was. Andy, I don't know if they blog in heaven, but I do know there is a heaven, and I believe you are there. Thank you for your goodness. Thank you for your service. Thank you for sharing your humanity. And thank you for your friends, such as Hilzoy. Prayers of comfort for your family, Andy.

My son-in-law and daughter are scheduled to be deployed to Iraq and Kuwait respectively in 2009. We pray that this misadventure is finalized or cleared up by then by those brave individuals like Major Andrew Olmsted who are attempting to bring peace to this hell hole of a region.

I am trying to get Andy's final post into the Congressional Record. Senator Kennedy's staff is going to see that this gets done.

Our family has suggested that donations be made to the Captain Thomas Casey Children's Fund, see hilzoys post in this thread. He is an authentic hero and his wife has four children to raise. Andy, I'm sure, would be happy to see a helping hand for his heroic executive officer.


I heard about Major Olmsted on NPR today in my car radio and could not wait to get home to read his note. As I read the post, I could only think of his family and friends - my deepest sympathy goes to his family and loved ones and to the Gis he left behind; it seems he was somewhat of a hero to them. In fact, he was a hero to all of us. May he and Captain Casey rest in peace.

Being a Grunt is not easy I salut you Maj. your last blog is what most humans do not ever find out the reality of what it cost some times to protect the rights of others tho diffrent they maybe , Go home now Maj. an ever time I here TAP,s I will think about you an my fellow troops for that is sound the solders make when they go forward to the light. NOTE: As I told my son who is now in the Land of Sand do not fear death for death will be your last mission an no one will know when that mission will be issued .

One Old Grunt

I'm so sorry to read this. If I wasn't a regular lurker on Obsidian Wings, it is only because there weren't enough posts by "G'Kar". May he rest in peace.

Major Olmsted - God needed a great soldier. You sacrifice will never be forgotten.

I had not known of Andy until a link on an unrelated forum by a close friend directed me to his last post.

I am a richer man for having read it.

I am a poorer man for not having known of Andy sooner in my life.

I have known others who have served and returned relatively intact. But after reading a good deal of his writings over the last few days, I feel as if I have lost a friend I never knew.

Very sad.

And yet it makes me glad to know that there are men and women like him out there, watching our backs.

Jeff: done.

For those interested in doing something in Andy's memory: as Andy's father noted,his family suggests making a donation to a fund set up for the four children of CPT Tom Casey, who was killed with Andy.

The address is here.


Andy- I just thought you should know we did your memorial Service here at Camp Funston yesterday. You and CPT Casey had an appropriate send off and it was well attended. LTC Moon took your loss hard, as did I. One of the BDE MTT team leaders you worked with in Iraq (who saw you two weeks ago) sat next to me and was in an equal state of disbelief. SGT Lindly sang a beautiful song at the service and LTC Moon spoke on your behalf. MAJ Hertel was the highlight of the service and he really seemed to capture your intelligence and your dry sense of humor. The 1st Infantry Division Commander was unable to attend, but BG Walker was there and you got a Division coin. COL Ingram and his wife paid their respects, as well. They played a bag pipe version of Amazing Grace after the 21 gun salute/ TAPS and there wasnt a dry eye in the house. I saved a copy of the program and I am going to send it to Will Johnson. I informed him by telephone that you were killed in action and directed him to your web page. It seems like it was just a moment ago we were three young captains working as galley slaves on the 3rd BCT staff. When I spoke to Will we both came to the conclusion that you shouldnt have been patrolling in Iraq, you should have been assisting in the formulation of Army policy and doctrine. I apologize for not being able to attend your funeral; I am still chopping the wood in front of me and continuing to get the other advisory teams here at Ft. Riley ready to go. I promise to go see your team when they redeploy in 6 months and check on them. I have no doubt they are taking your loss extremely hard, and they will carry your bravery with them until the end of their days. I spoke to the major who is deploying next week to replace you from the bench. He seems like a good guy and I told him to keep your team busy as soon as he gets there. I also told him to camp out in that town you were killed in and find those responsible and return the favor. I am taking one of our photos we took together when we were in 1-68 Armor and framing it to put on my mantle next to the one of CPT Brian Freeman, who was murdered in Karbala on 20 January 2007. I will call LTC Pires and inform him for you, too. As long as I draw air, your pictures will honor my house and I will tell my children of the sacrifice you made. Keep a barstool saved for me at Fiddler's Green and I will belly up for a cold one with you sooner or later. In the mean time, keep on providing overwatch for your brothers still in the fight.

God Speed and
God Bless You,

MAJ Tony Nichols

PS- I didnt sign the book at the Memorial service because the line was too long, but that probably doesnt suprise you a bit.

Dear Amanda,

I have never shed tears to any writing I've ever read in 33 years of my life -- until reading your husband's words,...Tonight.

Although I have never met you and have only just learned of your husband's blog today through my husband's friend of a friend of a friend through the online blogosphere, I want to share my deepest sympathy for you and your family.

I know the meaning of true love and while reading your husband's words, I felt his truest love for you pour off the screen's page of his post aimed directly into your heart, for his genuine words of love to be shared with the entire world.

Your husband is a true hero.

I am a proud American patriot.

I Thank God for your husband who made his life's determination to fight-the-good-fight a real TRUTH.

He has made his impact in this world with his courage and wisdom.

The United States of America is The Home of The Free BECAUSE of The Brave.

Blessings to You and Your Family Amanda,


Andrew's death would be just another statistic had I not heard his story on NPR and visited his posthumously posted letter. Thank you Andrew, for maintaining your sense of priority in death. Had you lived, I would never have learned of your humour and wonderful insight. You had to die to convey that to me. That's a horrible price for you, and now one I wish that you had to pay, even though I benefit from it. Life is too short, but the portion of infinity that we experience if astonishing. I'm glad the universe got to experience you, as I am glad that you got to experience a slice of the universe.
enjoy your travels out there, wherever you are.

My condolences to his family and his friends. You will remain in my prayers.
From the daughter of a deceased Viet Nam veteran

I did not know this soldier, but I thank God for him. I have served this country in the same fashion as he for 14 years and I am proud of him and all of my other comrades in arms. May God bless and keep his family and friends in this time of sorrow. He was obviously well respected and loved by those who knew him. Thank you for your service Major... *Capt H smartly salutes you*

a life examined and lived. he has taught me so much.
thank you andrew

Never read or knew of Andy 'till his death. Reading his post did not induce tears, because I'm from a Mil family and have internalized these concerns and the consequences of aggression long since. Follows, my too-long two cents:

This "last post" format offers opportunities not usually seen in blogging. Some of the most important thoughts a person has, do not make for good copy in daily reading, because the most profound insights can also be the simplest and, if repeated daily, the most easily glossed-over as "old" knowlege by the reader. On the other hand, a person can only post ONE (I hope!) last post, and that post SHOULD garner increased examination and consideration, if thoughtfully done.

The first excellent point in this post addresses the obligations of citizens in a democracy: that citizens have an obligation not only to let others speak, but to respectfully CONSIDER the views expressed by others, and strive to understand where those views come from; rather than take a "thanks for sharing" attitude toward those who don't think as they do.

Too many take the freedoms of America for granted, and think of them as permanent features of our cultural landscape. Not so. As many have observed, many thousands have died to obtain those freedoms for us. But history also shows us that, human drives being what they are, power tends to wind up in the hands of the few; to the detriment of the freedoms and rights of the many. It's a problem with freedom, that many will use that freedom to limit, in their own interests, the corresponding freedoms of others. We see this when telecomunication companies try to keep their competitors out of the market, limiting not only those competitors' freedom to market their products, but the freedom of the info-consumer to obtain varied and unbiased information. We also see it when governments bit by bit limit the options of citizens, such as the current push by lawmakers in Washington to severely limit permissible speech, in criticism of America's policies toward terrorism. Bills currently in Congress would define criticism of terrorism policies to be support for terrorists themselves, and legally chargable as such. This attitude from the Right has been current since 9/11, and has been used liberally to silence critics of the War On Terror. This legislation would put the force of law behind these efforts to silence dissent.

Freedoms are not "won" once, and inviolable thereafter. They must be "re-won" by us -- by you and me -- every time some entity with an agenda tries to place limits on them. We venerate the sacrifices that toppled fascism and preserved our rights, but we commonly sit contented, at the lazy pinacle of our civil rights, while those who know better steadily chip away at those rights and freedoms. We think the work is done. Veterans won us our freedoms, thank you very much, and now the biggest challenge to our way of life is the Network Writer's Strike! No, the biggest challenge to our way of freedom is the slow buyoff of those freedoms and rights -- and not even for real security, but for the pastel psychological security of thinking that we no longer have to defend our security for ourselves. This illusion will last exactly as long as it takes us to realize that many of the right taken as "given" by our forefathers have gone the way of the Dodo.

This is the grossest "entitlement thinking" of all: that we are now "entitled" to something our heroes had to die for. As soon as we start thinking that way, our guard is down, and Verizon starts censoring our page traffic of politically "undesirable" content.

What is the more fundamental right -- the freedom to say what we think, or the freedom to limit other's actions and speech as offensive to us (not harmfull, but offensive)? The one freedom resides in opposition to the other. One person burns a flag, or says we have no business fighting foreign wars, and others find that offensive. So what? If you remove the right to say what you think, you remove the soul of freedom.

And if you ignore the obligations, both to say what you think, and to responsibly and fairly consider the statements of others, you have removed the soul of democracy.

Tonight I heard Andy's story on NPR and excerpts from his final letter. I never read blogs but I decided to look this one up for some reason. I was struck by the excerpts from it. I was sobbing - hard- within seconds. His last blog drilled into my heart and the tears wouldn't stop for a long time. Some say it isn't fair when a gifted, decent young person dies. But only one thing in life is fair and that is death. It takes all of us sooner or later. No exceptions. We're all born but some don't even make it through the birth process. But we all make it to death. Every life matters and every death counts. I read that Native Americans believe that every person is a universe and when one person dies an entire universe dies. So we lost two whole universes that day - probably more. Two people died that I never knew and yet I feel pain and anguish at their loss. Who can explain that? Maybe the internet will finally make us all more human - when we can cry for the deaths of people we never knew. Because Andy and Cpt. Casey died, we the living can still have a shot at learning to really and truly stand upright, at long last, and become real humans - after all these eons. I've learned that we live in a world where for one thing to live another must die. So I wonder how many good people had to die just so I could sit and write this post tonight and listen to music, eat dinner, and all the other silly, mundane things I take for granted. The numbers are incalculable. Thanks Andy, Cpt. Casey and all the rest who have sacrificed the only valuable thing they had - their lives - for us! It's a debt that can never be repaid.

God Bless and your family. Thank you for your service - for protecting and serving our country - for watching over each and every one of us. You have impacted more lives than I think you could have ever imagined with your humor, your insight, your service and your sacrifice. I feel blessed, grateful and proud to be an American.

May God watch over your wife Amanda and your family.

"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free."
-- Ronald Reagan

Let us remember Andrew and give thanks for his sacrifice, for truly, it is us, the living that now bear the true loss.

Good Bye,Andy.We are lesser
for your passing.I will tell
my son (also an Andy) of your
and sense of humor.

i now have found that site on heroism (for anyone who wanted to read it,, but id advise against the last page, due to the writers, umm own selfishness, i guess.

i found this except specifically good, because it was exactly what the right thing ot do is, and what andy did for our country

'Even Charles Darwin, that human decoder ring of bizarre behavior, found the idea of saving a stranger's life to be a total head-scratcher.

"He who was ready to sacrifice his life, as many a savage has been, rather than betray his comrades, would often leave no offspring to inherit his noble nature," observed Darwin, who consequently couldn't figure out how to crowbar heroism into his survival-of-the-fittest theory.

Die for your own kids? Perfectly logical. According to Darwin, your only reason to exist is to pass your genes along to the next generation. But to die for a rival's kids? It seems totally counterproductive. No matter how many virile, healthy heroes you bore, it would take just one selfish bastard with a hearty sex drive to spoil the whole species. Selfish Bastard's kids would thrive and multiply, while SuperDad's kids would eventually follow their father's example and sacrifice themselves into extinction.

So if all the forces of evolution seemed to be aligned against heroism, why does it still exist?'

back to me here, in reality the reason heroism still survives is because people who are true heros (andy and other people like firefighters, and people who really protect us (who dont see it as heroism, just the right thing to do), they inspire us to do the same, and hopefully people will continue holding this action, because heroism was devised from a single thought, and because of that, it cant be just comprehended, but must be done to ensure that the world continues to do the right thing

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