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News stories tagged with "iraq-diary"

Major Eric Olsen & Susan Olsen
Major Eric Olsen & Susan Olsen

Iraq Diary, Pt. 29: Home At Last

Over the last year, Major Eric Olsen, a National Guard chaplain with the 2nd of the 108th infantry battalion, has sent weekly audio diaries from Iraq. His thoughts, and the experiences of his wife Susan in Saranac Lake, have offered some insight into the lives of families separated by war. This week, as we wrap up our regular series, Brian Mann sat down with Eric Olsen. Olsen is now one of dozens of north country soldiers back home safe, settling back into the rhythms of normal life.  Go to full article

Pentagon Considers More National Guard Call-ups

Hundreds of North Country soldiers with the National Guard's 2nd of the 108th infantry battalion have just returned from Iraq. The Pentagon is now considering a policy that could require National Guardsmen to serve multiple deployments -- some lasting as long as two years. Brian Mann has details.  Go to full article
2nd of the 108th Infantry Battalion returns home
2nd of the 108th Infantry Battalion returns home

Joy For Soldiers Home, Sorrow For Families Who Sacrificed Everything

More than six hundred soldiers with New York's National Guard arrived home last night from Iraq. The 2nd of the 108th Infantry battalion is made up of reservists who've spent much of the last three years on active duty. Families drove from all over the region to attend a homecoming ceremony held last night at Fort Drum. The event marked the end of a year-long vigil for many north country families. But it was a bitter day for the loved ones of soldiers who didn't make it back. Brian Mann has our story.  Go to full article

Iraq Diary, Pt. 28: Returning Home, Eager and Anxious

Over the last ten months, Major Eric Olsen has been sending regular audio diary entries from Camp Orion north of Bagdad. In his latest entry, Olsen takes stock of a year spent on the front lines and looks forward to the challenges of returning home. Major Olsen is chaplain for the 2nd of the 108th National Guard infantry battalion. He lives in Saranac Lake with his wife Susan and sons, Garth and Evan.  Go to full article

Iraq Diary, Pt. 27: Christmas With Dad In Iraq Means Waiting for Homecoming

For dozens of military families in the north country, this Christmas season has been tough. A contingent of reservists from Vermont is now on its way to Iraq. Meanwhile, seven hundred National Guard soldiers from around New York state are scheduled to return next week from Iraq. A demobilization ceremony for the 2nd of the 108th battalion has been tentatively scheduled for next Monday at Fort Drum. The homecoming will be a joyous time, but it will also be a time for complicated adjustments. This week, as part of our Iraq audio diary series, we'll hear from Susan Olsen. Susan is an artist, a teacher, and a homemaker. She's also the wife of Major Eric Olsen, an army chaplain from Saranac Lake who's been serving at Camp Orion north of Bagdad. Their sons are Garth and Evan.  Go to full article

Iraq Diary, Pt. 23: New Reservists from New York, Vermont Head to Iraq

Hundreds of New York National Guard soldiers serving with the 2nd of the 108th in Iraq have passed their one-year mark. The reservists will be returning home to the U.S. in January or February. But they'll be replaced by other reserve units from New York and Vermont that are now shipping overseas. This week as part his audio diary, Major Eric Olsen -- a chaplain from Saranac Lake -- headed to Camp Orion's internet café to talk with Zachary Estergard, a young soldier from Syracuse who's just begun a tour of duty.  Go to full article

Iraq Diary, Pt. 22: Soldiers Remember One Who Fell

As fighting intensifies in Iraq, the Bush administration has called up thousands of additional reservists. Roughly 180,000 part-time soldiers are now on active duty. That's an increase of 25,000 since June. National Guard and Reserve soldiers now make up roughly half of the American forces serving in Iraq. According to the Pentagon, they're also suffering half of the casualties. Last month, 15 reservists were killed in action. Two of them were members of New York's 2nd battlion, 108th infantry regiment. In his latest audio diary, Major Eric Olsen, a chaplain from Saranac Lake, has this remembrance of Sgt. Michael Uvanni, a New York National Guardsman who was killed by a sniper October 1st in the town of Samarra.

The Iraq Diary series is produced by Brian Mann with web support from Dale Hobson.  Go to full article

Iraq Diary, Pt. 21: Faith on the Front Lines

Hundreds of soldiers from northern New York are serving on the front lines in Iraq. For many, the dangers and the moral dilemmas of war are eased by faith. But they're also living and fighting in a place where religion is a flashpoint for violence and hatred. In his latest audio diary, Major Eric Olsen -- an army chaplain from Saranac Lake -- talks with reservists in Iraq about hope and spiritual belief in a time of conflict.  Go to full article
A civilian for two weeks.
A civilian for two weeks.

Iraq Diary, pt. 20: Two Weeks On The Home Front

As the fighting in Iraq continues, National Guard soldiers from New York have been returning home for two weeks of much-needed R&R. In his audio diary this week, chaplain Eric Olsen travels back to Saranac Lake. He describes wonderful autumn days, spent with his wife Susan and his sons Garth and Evan. But Major Olsen says every joy and experience has been burdened with the knowledge that he'll soon be shipping out again.  Go to full article

Iraq Diary, Part 16: Halfway Through Iraq Deployment, Hard Days Far From Home

Hundreds of National Guard soldiers from the North Country are serving a year long deployment in Iraq, as part of the 2nd of the 108th Infantry Battalion. As they enter the middle part of their tour, some have had the opportunity to travel home for two-week vacations. But many men and women are still struggling with homesickness and boredom and fatigue. In his latest audio diary installment, Chaplain Major Eric Olsen, from Saranac Lake, talks about the inner life of our soldiers living in a combat zone.  Go to full article

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