Enlisting in the Army in 1983, COL William B. Ostlund served with the 1st Battalion, 75th Rangers and was stationed at Hunter Army Airfield 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.
COL Ostlund was commissioned as a Distinguished Military Graduate 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. COL Ostlund next commanded B Company, 2nd Battalion, 9th Infantry (mechanized) in the Republic of Korea. He subsequently attended graduate school at The Fletcher School, Tufts University prior to being assigned as an Associate Professor in West Point’s Department of Social Sciences where he taught American Politics and International Security Studies.
In 2001, COL Ostlund was 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 – 173rd Airborne Brigade; this assignment included service in the Balkans and OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM. He then served in the Strategic Command’s Plans and Policy Division as the Chief, European Support Section and Combating Weapons of Mass Destruction Planner.
In 2006, COL Ostlund returned to Italy to command 2nd Battalion (Airborne), 503rd Infantry Regiment of the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team. The battalion formed Task Force ROCK, deployed for 15 months in support of OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM, and was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation and the Valorous Unit Award. COL Ostlund next served as the Deputy Commander of the 75th Ranger Regiment from 2008-2011; from this position, he twice served as the Commander for a Joint Inter-Agency Special Operations Counterterrorism Task Force in Afghanistan.
COL Ostlund most recently completed a Senior Service College Fellowship at Tufts University. He is a graduate of the Joint and Combined Warfighting School, Command and General Staff College, and the Ranger, Jumpmaster, Pathfinder, and Air Assault Courses.
COL Ostlund’s awards and decorations include the Presidential Unit Citation, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star with three oak leaf clusters, Combat Infantryman’s Badge (2nd award), Expert Infantryman’s Badge, Master Parachutist Badge w/combat jump star, and the Ranger Tab.