NAME: Toby R. Olsen
PLACE OF BIRTH: ???, MD
DATE OF BIRTH:
HOME OF RECORD: Manchester, NH
DATES OF SERVICE: ?? ??? ???? - 20 Jan 2007
UNIT ASSIGNED: 3rd Battalion, 509th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division
CAMPAIGNS: Operation Iraqi Freedom
AWARDS: Parachutist Badge, Purple Heart Medal, OIF Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon
SUMMARY OF SERVICE:
Olsen was born in Maryland
1991 - Moved to Hawaii
Graduated Mililani High School in Hawaii
Olsen earned an art degree from Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia
2005 - Joined the Army
He was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 509th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division.
00 Oct 2006 - Deployed to Iraq
20 Jan 2007 - Army CPL. Toby Olsen, 28, was killed in Karma, Iraq along with three other soldiers. A bomb went off near their Humvee.
"He was artistic, so gifted in drawing," Beil said. "The guy could draw like you wouldn't believe. He wanted to fulfill his military duty and become an art teacher."
His parents, James and Lis Olsen, live in Germany, where James Olsen is an Army colonel and eye doctor.
His grandparents, John and Hiroko Olsen, live in Wahiawa, Hawaii.
Uncle, Larry Beil of San Francisco, “He was artistic, so gifted in drawing, The guy could draw like you wouldn’t believe. He wanted to fulfill his military duty and become an art teacher.”
Olsen died 13 days after he returned to the war zone from a two-week holiday visit with his family in Germany, said another uncle, Robert Olsen, of Mililani. Toby Olsen’s father, Army Col. James “Mike” Olsen, is an ophthalmologist at the U.S. Army Hospital in Heidelberg. The holiday marked the first time Toby, his father, mother, Lis, and sister Tanya were together since he joined the Army in late 2005, Robert Olsen said. He told his family that he joined the Army, in part, because he had too much freedom and wanted more structure, that he had found the urge to create again, he said. “Now my time is run by the minute; there is almost no room for creativity. I now conform to ideas instead of imagine, and destroy instead of create,” Olsen wrote to his family before returning to war from Christmas leave. “The contrast thus far has led to a strong resurgence of my former drives and desire to create, as well as a newfound level of respect for the freedoms I once had. “Hope I live long enough to enjoy them again”
“We were all proud of him, that he was doing the right thing, but shocked that he won’t be able to fulfill his dreams in life,” Robert Olsen said.
He is also survived by his brother Michael, who works at Leeward Community College, and grandparents John C. and Hiroko Olsen, of Wahiawa.
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