Wednesday, November 30, 2005

52-year-old grandfather ordered to Army duty

Wisconsin native Gary Olson is a 52-year-old grandfather, a retired U.S. Army veteran - and soon to be a soldier again, thanks to the need for troops in Iraq.

Olson was ordered to report for duty Dec. 4 in Fort Jackson, S.C.

Sally Olson, his wife of 33 years, said that she was shocked by the orders and figured the chances of it happening were slim when he took early retirement more than a decade ago.

"Why don't they just go to the draft if they are getting this desperate for people?" she asked. "In a couple of months, he will be 53."

Sally Olson said she disagrees with President Bush that the war in Iraq was justified.

You got it Sally! So does 67% of the nation.

The Army told Olson, a sergeant first class mechanic when he retired, to prepare for 18 months away from home after he passes his physical.

Maj. Elizabeth Robbins, an Army spokeswoman at the Pentagon, said since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the military has called to duty about 6,500 retired soldiers on individual ready reserve because they have some specific, needed skills.

Olson thought his days as a soldier were done when he accepted early retirement from the Army in 1992. A condition of the deal was Olson, who had spent 17 years in the Army, had to remain on ready reserve until age 60, he said.

George Bush is only 57. Why doesn't he go? Oh, I forgot...he has no needed skills. How about the Bush twins? They're 23 and able bodied. Oh, right...the children of the rich and powerful don't have to serve their country, only the poor and disenfranchised.

Olson now has three grandchildren, ages 1, 2 and 7, who all live nearby.

Sally Olson said the news of her husband's return to the Army hit the 7-year-old grandson hard.

"He said, 'Why does Papa have to go?' And we told him they need Papa to come back and help some more and finish a job that is not quite done," she said.

I'm glad they didn't tell Gary's grandson that the job will never be done.


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