January 04, 2008

A Blogger Dies at War

Blogger and soldier Andrew Olmsted, who often posted as G-Kar at Obsidian Wings, was killed in combat yesterday in Iraq. As far as you know, he was killed defending a village composed solely of innocent women and children from hundreds of insurgents.

Knowing the risks he took as a soldier, he composed a moving, reflective final post to be published in the event of his death.

In Major Olmstead's last paragraph he expressed doubts in an afterlife. I sincerely hope he finds himself today in Heaven, pleasantly surprised.

His writing is archived at

Posted by Confederate Yankee at January 4, 2008 03:23 PM

Ave atque vale, frater.

Posted by: DaveP. at January 4, 2008 04:14 PM

CY, thanks for emailling me the heads-up on this. It just goes to show how much less ideological differences are when set beside human tragedy.

Regards, C

Posted by: Cernig at January 4, 2008 05:07 PM

Rest in peace, Soldier.


The soldier stood and faced his God,
Which must always come to pass.
He hoped his shoes were shining,
Just as brightly as his brass.

"Step forward now, you soldier,
How shall I deal with you?
Have you always turned the other cheek?
To My Church have you been true?"

The soldier squared his shoulders and said,
"No, Lord, I guess I ain't.
Because those of us who carry guns,
Can't always be a saint.

I've had to work most Sundays,
And at times my talk was tough.
And sometimes I've been violent,
Because the world is awfully rough.

But, I never took a penny,
That wasn't mine to keep...
Though I worked a lot of overtime,
When the bills got just too steep.

And I never passed a cry for help,
Though at times I shook with fear.
And sometimes, God, forgive me,
I've wept unmanly tears.

I know I don't deserve a place,
Among the people here.
They never wanted me around,
Except to calm their fears.

If you've a place for me here, Lord,
It needn't be so grand.
I never expected or had too much,
But if you don't, I'll understand."

There was a silence all around the throne,
Where the saints had often trod.
As the soldier waited quietly,
For the judgment of his God.

"Step forward now, you soldier,
You've borne your burdens well.
Walk peacefully on Heaven's streets,
You've done your time in Hell."

Posted by: Bill Faith at January 4, 2008 05:45 PM

This is such sad news. Words are inadequate.

Posted by: beth at January 4, 2008 07:29 PM has been a while.

This is sad news indeed. I am forwarding this to my son now serving in Iraq.

Posted by: Snooper at January 4, 2008 07:55 PM

I sincerely hope he finds himself today in Heaven, pleasantly surprised.

Bob, a man this great finds himself not in Heaven, but exploring beyond the rim with G'Kar and Dr. Franklin.

Posted by: TheEJS at January 4, 2008 08:12 PM

This is such sad news. Words are inadequate.
Posted by: beth at January 4, 2008 07:29 PM

she speaks words that are very true

Posted by: Butch at January 4, 2008 08:42 PM

Whenever I read one that one of these fine young men has perished doing the job that needs to be done, I wish I was young enough again to go re-up and take his place.

God speed Major Olmstead, my heartfelt thanks and gratitude for your ultimate sacrifice, and my prayers for the ones you have left behind.

Review troops, long past review.

Posted by: Conservative CBU at January 4, 2008 08:49 PM

What an individual. Just shows you how great our brave men and women truly are. And that they believe in what they are doing. WOW is about all I can say. AMEN. God Bless him and all our other brave protectors.


Posted by: Jason at January 4, 2008 09:50 PM

My son lost his best friend in Iraq and then came back from Afghanistan with his body broken.

My heart goes out to MAJ Olmstead and, especially, to his bereaved loved ones.

Thank you, MAJ O., for your service to our country!

Posted by: m. r. o'donnell at January 5, 2008 01:58 AM

the forces of censorship never learn...

Posted by: censorship_never_works at January 6, 2008 02:55 AM

"Censorship" you didn't give a rats ass about the immense suffering and deaths of ordinary Iraqis under Saddam, so your well thought out comments stink of nothing more than unintelligent bias.

However, Maj Olmsted, as a member of the US Military, the group of people you soley blame of inflicting death on ordinary Iraqi's, defended your right to voice such drivel.

Bu he also defended the right for any website administrator to delete any comments they chose on their website for any reason, especially if they find the comments inappropriate to the subject at hand.

Would you dare attend the funeral or memorial service of a soldier and in the midst of those paying respect and mourning make the same outlandish remarks you made on what is the 'virtual' equivalent of a memorial service to this man.

And if you did, and they had you removed from the premises, it would not be an act of censorship.
There is a time and place for everything.That you are incapable of understanding that speaks to your mental state.

So take your bogus concerns for deaths of Iraqis and your bogus claims of censorship and shove them where your head is obviously spending a great deal of time. In Basra these past two months, the ONLY people killing Iraqis are OTHER IRAQIS.

Posted by: Huntress at January 6, 2008 09:57 AM

Major Andrew Olmsted
May Angels Sing Thee To Thy Rest, Sweet Prince.

Posted by: Huntress at January 6, 2008 09:58 AM

Hey, "censorship_never_works", would you say the same things about those Powers That Be on DailyKos or DemocraticUnderground who routinely delete conservative comments and/or users?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Posted by: C-C-G at January 6, 2008 11:01 AM

Obsidian Wings is largely a left leaning blog, and hilzoy, who posted Maj. Olmsted's final post is most assuredly a lefty. That said, the thread linked was one to remember and grieve for Maj. Olmsted. And you, "censorship", are a Grade A douchebag for politicking on a thread where it was expressly discouraged in order to honor the memory of their fallen friend.

Would you dare attend the funeral or memorial service of a soldier and in the midst of those paying respect and mourning make the same outlandish remarks you made on what is the 'virtual' equivalent of a memorial service to this man.

Huntress, I suspect that he would and that the only thing that would prevent him from doing so is cowardice. Simple decency and/or respect would not enter into his equation.

Thank you, Andy. May your sacrifice be eternally rewarded.

Posted by: Pablo at January 6, 2008 01:13 PM

Pablo, "censorship" has already violated Major Olmstead's wishes... the late Major wrote:

I do ask (not that I'm in a position to enforce this) that no one try to use my death to further their political purposes. I went to Iraq and did what I did for my reasons, not yours. My life isn't a chit to be used to bludgeon people to silence on either side. If you think the U.S. should stay in Iraq, don't drag me into it by claiming that somehow my death demands us staying in Iraq. If you think the U.S. ought to get out tomorrow, don't cite my name as an example of someone's life who was wasted by our mission in Iraq. I have my own opinions about what we should do about Iraq, but since I'm not around to expound on them I'd prefer others not try and use me as some kind of moral capital to support a position I probably didn't support. Further, this is tough enough on my family without their having to see my picture being used in some rally or my name being cited for some political purpose. You can fight political battles without hurting my family, and I'd prefer that you did so.

And so, of course, a lefty has to do just what the late Major asked him not to.

I could go on, but that would be to do myself what I am accusing "censorship" of... and I have already trodden perilously close to that line, so I won't step further in that direction.

I will just say, I wish "censorship" had the guts of Major Olmstead, to step into harm's way to protect others.

Posted by: C-C-G at January 6, 2008 03:51 PM

Feeling the loss; RIP Maj. Andrew Olmsted.

MAJ Andrew Olmsted was killing in action January 3, 2008, and I just do not have any words to say how sorry I am to his family and friends. ... He did leave us one last post which he gave to hilzoy to post in such a case as this. So at least he deafed the grips of death with a final farewell. An excerpt:

PS. Thank you, Confederate Yankee, for bringing this to our attention. I just wish it could have been on brighter terms.

Posted by: Rosemary's Thoughts at January 8, 2008 05:44 AM