PUBLISHED: 5:50 PM on Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Military a career for 1988 JDHS grad
While having a father in the U.S. Coast Guard meant often moving, Andrew Koloski knew growing up he wanted to make the military his career. Now a major in the U.S. Army, Koloski is currently stationed in Iraq, though his home base is Ft. Bennett, Ga. He and his wife, Kym, have two sons, Hunter, 6, and Graeson, 8.

He moved to Alaska in the early 1970s, first living in Kodiak and later moving to Juneau in 1980. He is a 1988 graduate of Juneau-Douglas High School and was during his time in Juneau was involved in soccer and basketball and had a newspaper route.

Koloski said his initial interest was to enlist in the U.S. Air Force, but after his eyesight didn't make the cut to be a pilot, he pursued the Army. He graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1992.

"Since my father was in the coast guard, I always thought of the military as a career," Koloski said. "I applied to and got nominated for the U.S. Military Academy and haven't looked back since."

He serves as second in command of an Armored Recon Squadron deployed to Iraq, where he is responsible for supervising a staff of 70 officers and soldiers, which synchronizes all logistical support to a combat unit of more than 600 soldiers.

Courtesy photo
  Courtesy photo Major Andrew Koloski with his wife, Kym, and sons Hunter and Graeson at Walt Disney's MGM Studios during a mid-tour leave in September.
"It's definitely very different from home. It's dry and dusty here at the combat outpost. There are about 100-200 people in each outpost and trying to get us all the essentials of life is a constant challenge," Koloski said. "If you think about it, it's like running a little town at every outpost. From showers to bathrooms to food, you've got to anticipate that need organize and have it come in before it's needed otherwise everyone has a sad face in the morning if they can't take a shower of there's nothing to eat."

He said in the eights months he has been at his current post, he thinks there has been much improvement in the area, which is good for soldier moral.

"It's pretty amazing. Our mission was to come in here to provide additional security to all Iraqis to make progress and, from my point of view, we've definitely had an impact on the security situation. It was pretty much a wild, wild east. Now the Iraqis talk about the positive the soldiers have had. I've heard stories of people going to a market they haven't gone to in years for fear of kidnapping," Koloski said. "That improvement of security allows us to do other things like provide clean water, sanitation and sewers and allows the local Iraqi government to meet with constituents and get things done."

He said a program he has seen work among the people of Iraq is a group of locals who started the Concerned Citizens Program.

"When most of our soldiers are out, they've focused on the mission. They see day in and day out the same people and same kids and see improvements they're making in their lives," Koloski said.

He said while being in the military can be difficult, he encourages others to learn about its programs.

"I would encourage everyone to do that but knowing and understanding what it means to commit to the military," Koloski said. "To me one of the most satisfying ways to give back to society and my country is my patriotic duty to serve and the military has been good to me."