by Ethan Olberding
July 21, 2004
Ethan Olberding ’99 was a senior history major and summa cum laude graduate when we featured him, along with classmates Jared Hall and Jon Dilley, on the cover of the Summer/Fall 2000 issue of WM. The theme was "Choices," and Olberding has made some tough ones. After two years with Braun Consulting in Chicago, he joined the Army and was selected for Officer Candidate School.
Ethan passed this e-mail message along to friends and family before leaving for Afghanistan on April 20:
Subject: A Quick Note Before I Leave
Well, the day is almost upon us . . . I leave for my year-long tour in Afghanistan this Tuesday at 0400 in the morning. We will fly from Hawaii across the U.S. and then to Europe, finally arriving in Central Asia prepared to conduct combat operations.
Throughout history men and women have left friends and family to fight for country and principle. This event is no different. I am proud of the responsibility I will undertake. In less than a week I will be placing my life on the line for my country, my God, and, most of all, my men. My goal is to return a year from now with all my soldiers.
It is heart-wrenching to watch families say goodbye to a husband, son, or brother bound for a war zone. Please understand that I take no joy in the upcoming operation. It needs to be conducted and good men have answered the call. I serve not for myself, but for all of you. Keep me in your prayers, and I will see you in a year.
Ethan A. Olberding
Task Force Saber