Officer on death bed wishes he'd spent more time with his training schedule

ARLINGTON, Va. — Harking back to his long ago days on active duty, retired Army Maj. Todd Andrews said he wished he had spent more time with his unit's training schedule while he still had the time.

"So many opportunities lost in my youth," Andrews said. "I spent my whole life chasing these dreams of family and success, but it turns out true happiness was right there in front of me in the form of our division's long term training calendar.

"I wish I'd had the courage to look at my Microsoft Outlook calendar more often and 'reply all' to emails when I had the chance."

While Andrews said he looks fondly upon the times spent with his loved ones, he said he is most nostalgic about the long hours spent sitting in front of a computer mindlessly changing color codings and plugging in names of exercises. For Andrews, it was not just about the calendars, but about the inspiring numbing pointlessness of it all.

"Oh, what I wouldn't give to change a readiness level in [Defense Readiness Reporting System] from yellow to green one last time," he said. "I'll never get those days back."

Andrews' family has long since left him, but the training schedule has remained by his bedside for his entire hospice stay. Even though he and the calendar had been apart for years, he said he felt it was his obligation after all they had been through to leave it everything in his will.

"My old friend, I'm sorry I didn't love you like I should have when we were still young," said Andrews. "But don't be sad that I'm going. Travel the world. Take risks, as long as you've filled out your ORM matrix. One day you will meet a new staff officer who loves you like I do."

At press time, the training schedule had been deleted accidentally by a new lieutenant colonel that checked into the division.

Addison Blu contributed reporting.