June 20, 2022

Episode 105: William “Bill” Ostlund “A Four Decade Warriors LIfe ”

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This week in the studio a man with almost 4 decades of military service to this country. His dream started all the way back in the summer before his freshman year of high school when he finished reading a military based book about every three days. By doing this his mind was set on a life a service which began in 1983 when he was assigned to the 1st Battallion 75th Rangers as brand new private. He made colossal strides in his career by not only becoming a Ranger but also a JumpMaster by the rank of Specialist. In 1987 as a then Staff Sergeant he transitioned to the Nebraska National Guard so that he could attend college. After receiving his bachelors degree he was back on active duty as a commissioned officer. Now this is where his career really takes off. He has held commands in the 101st, 75th Ranger Regiment, 508th Infantry,173rd Airborne where he was in commander of a battalion that was awarded a Presidential Unit citation, Valorous Unit Award, over 400 individual valor awards that included 3 living Medal of Honor recipients. He has spent over six years of his life and career in combat. He ended his illustrious career as the Director of Military Instruction at the United States Military Academy at WestPoint and he is here to tell how his warriors life has affected him, his immediate family, and his much larger adopted family (the soldiers under his command), and what he is doing with that second chapter of his life. I am honored to introduce you to William “Bill” Ostlund Colonel US Army Retired.

INTRO and OUTRO music written,performed, and provided by the band Rattle Root. Check them out below.

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William (Bill) OstlundProfile Photo

William (Bill) Ostlund

Colonel (retired), Author, Corporate Security

William B. Ostlund

Enlisting in the U.S. Army in 1983, Colonel(r) Bill Ostlund served with the 1st Battalion, 75th Rangers and was stationed at Hunter Army Airfield, Georgia through 1987. As a Staff Sergeant he transitioned to the Nebraska National Guard’s Long Range Surveillance Detachment and simultaneously enrolled at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and joined their ROTC program.

Bill was commissioned as a Distinguished Military Graduate in the Infantry and re-entered the active Army in 1990. He served as a Platoon Leader and Company Executive Officer in 3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment – 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). This tour included service in OPERATION DESERT SHIELD and DESERT STORM. He was then assigned to 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment where he again served as a Platoon Leader and a Company Executive Officer. Bill commanded B Company, 2nd Battalion, 9th Infantry (mechanized) in the Republic of Korea and then attended graduate school at The Fletcher School, Tufts University - completing his PhD coursework - prior to being assigned as an Assistant Professor in the United States Military Academy’s Department of Social Sciences where he taught American Politics and International Security Studies. Bill was subsequently stationed in Vicenza, Italy where he served as the Southern European Task Force’s Chief of Operations, Operations Officer – 1st Battalion (Airborne), 508th Infantry, and Operations Officer then Deputy Commander of the 173rd Airborne Brigade; this assignment included service in the BALKANS and the 173rd’s combat parachute assault into OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM. He then served in the U.S. Strategic Command’s Plans and Policy Division as the Chief, European Support Section and Combating Weapons of Mass Destruction Planner. Bill returned to Italy to command 2nd Battalion (Airborne), 503rd Infantry Regiment – The ROCK – of the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team. While in command of The ROCK, he deployed this unit for 15 months to Kunar/Nuristan Afghanistan in support of OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM. During this tour, his battalion became known as the most decorated unit in the Global War earning a Presidential Unit Citation, Valorous Unit Award and over 400 individual valor awards to include three living Medal of Honor awardees. Numerous books, articles and documentaries have captured this storied tour. Upon return, Bill served as the Deputy Commander of the 75th Ranger Regiment. From this position, he deployed to Afghanistan several times for a total of 15 months and twice served as the Commander for a large Joint Inter-Agency Special Operations Counterterrorism Task Force. Bill next completed a Senior Service College Fellowship at The Fletcher School prior to commanding 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Light), 1st Infantry Division. The BCT formed Combined Task Force DUKE and deployed for nine months in support of OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM. Bill served as the Executive Officer to the Commander, U.S. Special Operations Command then the Director of the Commander’s Action Group, U.S. Central Command, both positions included regular trips to Europe, the Middle East and Southwest Asia. In February 2019, Bill retired as the Director, Department of Military Instruction at the United States Military Academy – West Point – and has been deemed a Distinguished Member of the 75th Ranger Regiment and the 503rd Parachute Infantry Regiment.

In January 2019, Bill seamlessly transitioned to Google as a Global Security and Resilience Services (GSRS) Strategic Security and Risk Manager. He next served as the GSRS, Global Security Manager for YouTube and currently serves as the Global Security Manager for Security Operations Readiness.

Bill holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Nebraska at Omaha and a Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy (MALD) in International Relations from The Fletcher School. Additionally, he served as a Senior Service College Fellow at The Fletcher School and he recently completed the Kellogg School’s Understanding Security as a Business Asset Program.

Bill authored: “On Trust and Leadership,” published by the Modern War Institute (19 December 2018); “Conventional Force and Special Operation Forces: Interoperability and Interdependence,” published by the Institute of Land Warfare (October 2014); “Irregular Warfare: Counterterrorism Forces in Support of Counterinsurgency Operations,” published by the Institute of Land Warfare (September 2012); “Tactical Leader Lessons Learned in Afghanistan,” published in Military Review (July/August 2009); and “Rifle Platoon Leader (Air Assault): Training and Leading in the Gulf War,” published by the MCOE (1995).