It was my pleasure and privilege to share drinks and conversation and the occasional email with Andrew Olmsted. If you never got to meet him in person, he was a man without pretense. What you read on his blog was the real Andrew — funny, erudite, and above all, decent.
He never seemed to think much of his writing, but the blogging he did from his military training down south was some of the best military writing on the web. Or anywhere else, on any other subject, for that matter. The love for his job always came through, and so did his love for his unit and his troops. He also had near-endless patience when required to explain military affairs to uninformed civilians like me.
In his posthumous final blog post, Andy accused Jeff Goldstein and me of having “consistently frustrated me with their mix of wit and wisdom I could never match.” That’s so typically modest of him — and so untrue that it practically crosses the line between “modest” and “great big giant lie.” Except, of course, that Andrew didn’t posses nearly enough guile to tell that size of a whopper. If Andy said it, you could be damn sure that he believed it.
What Andrew did posses was a heart big enough to love his wife Amanda, his country, and even a bunch of loudmouth strangers he met around the blogosphere. He wrote that he “would prefer that people remember the good things about me rather than mourning my loss.” That’s a tough request, buddy — remembering all the good things brings out the tears, uncontrolled.
There should be some big finish here, with lots of pithy words about loss and love and such. Instead, there’s just the tears and a few smiles. I hope that’s OK.