Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Colonel Ted Westhusing

Col Ted Westhusing died in Iraq in June 2005. I recently looked up his name in an internet search as I was searching sites related to events that occurred when I was stationed in Iraq. I was disturbed to read the conspiracy theories and conjecture that Col Westhusing’s name had attached to it in several sites. Many of the sites suggested that Col Westhusing was murdered in a plot from a contractor in country. These site contrive all manner of reason’s that support their theories that Col Westhusing was killed. All of the theories are manipulations of the truth.

As noted in several sites, friends and family struggle with the idea that Westhusing could have killed himself. He was a loving father and husband and a devout Catholic. He was an extraordinary intellect and had mastered ancient Greek and Italian. He had less than a month before his return home. It seemed impossible that anything could crush the spirit of a man with such a powerful sense of right and wrong.

Officially, Ted died of a non-combat injury at Camp Dublin near the Baghdad Airport. The Army conducted an investigation into the death, which was concluded and reported to have been suicide.

We served MNSTC-I together - He was the Chief of CPATT working for MG Fil who was a demanding boss. Ted was extremely frustrated, tired, and irritable in the days prior to his death. Unfortunately - my last discussion with Ted was a bitter fight over Installation issues for one of the many Police units which was troubling him and causing him considerable angst. The fight was one of considerable passion on both sides to do what was right in our minds to support the burgeoning Iraqi Police units being created. Col Westhusing and I fought for over an hour until spent and concluded to work the matter out at a later date. I left for my 2 week R&R a day later and a few days before COL Westhusing’s death. Upon my return I had many discussions with COL Westhusing’s subordinates, peers and others as we were a close knit group and had daily interaction over the events on the day of his death. I am sure that Col Westhusing’s death was a suicide as reported.

I have posted on my blog one of the last pictures taken with Col Westhusing just weeks before his death. We have talked about our sorrow many times since at the loss of a dedicated warrior. His death stunned all who knew him. All of us that worked with Col Westhusing wondered whether we missed signs of depression. Typical of many in the environment Col Westhusing had been losing weight and not sleeping well. He was a perfectionist and very hard on himself and was well regarded for his efforts to corral the Iraqi Ministry of Interior to make progress in training Iraqi police and Police special forces.

Col Westhusing served his country as a volunteer in Iraq. He had one of the toughest jobs in MNSTC-I by many accounts. He was driven to get the job done to the army standard which may have been the source of his frustrations. We did not become friends in that trying environment because we were soldiers that did the job with blind stoicism… perhaps we should have talked on a more personal level, but there was never enough time. He should be honored for his life, not used as a tool for conspiracy theorists in his unfortunate and untimely death.

You can read a reasonble account of his death here

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