Archive for Saturday, January 5, 2008

2 Fort Riley soldiers killed in Iraq

January 5, 2008

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— An Army major from Colorado who wrote a blog from Iraq for the Rocky Mountain News was one of two Fort Riley soldiers killed during an attack by insurgents.

The soldiers, identified as Maj. Andrew J. Olmsted, 37, of Colorado Springs, Colo., and Capt. Thomas J. Casey, 32, Albuquerque, N.M., were killed Thursday in Sadiyah, Iraq, during combat operations, the Army said.

The two were assigned to the Military Transition Team, 1st Brigade, 1st Infantry Division at Fort Riley, as advisers to Iraqi forces.

Olmsted, who began writing for the News on May 21, asked a friend to post a final posting on his Web site if he died in Iraq. In it, Olmsted, who described himself as a libertarian, warns against making his death an argument for or against the war.

"My life isn't a chit to be used to bludgeon people to silence on either side...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," read the final post on AndrewOlmsted.com.

He also quoted Plato as saying "only the dead have seen the end of war."

Olmsted leaves behind his wife of 10 years, Amanda Wilson, of Colorado Springs.

"The news is devastating," News editor John Temple said. "The major was a brave man who obviously thrived on sharing his experiences and thoughts on his blog. He provided a perspective on Iraq that would have been impossible for a journalist. Our thoughts are with his wife, family and unit."

The News reported that Olmsted was based at Colorado's Fort Carson and had trained at Fort Riley.

In New Mexico, Casey's family members told Albuquerque television station KOB-TV that he will be remembered as a wonderful husband and father, and as a hero.

Casey, a graduate of the Albuquerque Academy and the University of New Mexico, left the Army three years ago after his first tour in Iraq. His family said he rejoined last spring and was deployed to Iraq in the summer.

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