The Mrs. found this article in the Beloit Daily News which was a reprint from the Wausau Daily Herald. It's about a retired veteran who has been called up for active duty in Iraq.
Grandfather called to active duty
MOSINEE, Wis. (AP) - 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.
“They're just looking for bodies to fill in. I have been out cold turkey for 13 years,” Olson said. “My philosophy is this: I'm going to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. If I have to go, I have to go.”
Sally Olson, his wife of 33 years, said Friday she was shocked by the orders and figured the chances of it happening were “slim to none” 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.
Gary Olson said when his wife showed him the large brown envelop the Army sent last month, he knew without even looking inside that it contained his orders because two years ago he declined the military's invitation to voluntarily come out of retirement.
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 to support Operation Iraqi Freedom.
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.
The Army has about 115,000 soldiers on individual ready reserve, she said.
Olson thought his days as a soldier were done when he accepted early retirement from the Army in 1992 as the military sought to downsize after Operation Desert Storm. 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.
Olson makes windows at a factory in Mosinee and hasn't worked as a mechanic since he retired from the Army, he said.
He 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.
Then the grandson asked if his grandpa was going to die, Mrs. Olson said, fighting back tears. “We just said, 'There is always a chance of being hurt. You say your prayers and hope everything is OK.”'
Gary Olson said he does not fear going to Iraq, where more than 2,050 troops have been killed since the war began. He's concerned about his wife and family.
“The wife, she's pretty upset,” he said.
You can't blame his wife for being upset. He's a 52 year old grandfather of three. Just why in the hell does he have to go fight a war for a bunch of chicken-shit chickenhawks.