GySgt Eric Olson

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I was born in Vancouver, Washington on January 6, 1980. I went to Goldendale H.S. in Goldendale, Washington. I earned a diploma from Goldendale H.S. in 1998. During high school I worked with my uncle performing general construction contracting.

My mother is Cindy Olson and Father is Phillip Olson.  They both reside in Centerville, Washington.  I have two younger brothers, Matthew and Wade.  My wife, Brandi Olson, along with my daughters, Emma and Sophia have recently relocated back to Goldendale, WA for my medical retirement.

I enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserve in June 1997 and reported to 6th ESB Category P platoon to begin fulfilling my contract.  I reported to MCRD San Diego in June 1998. Upon graduation in September 1998, I returned to 6th ESB. I reported to Basic Combat Engineer School in June 1999 as a LCpl and MCT in June 2001 as a Corporal. While at 6th ESB I deployed to Okinawa, Japan as part of a UDP, Alaska, and Belize.  I also performed more than 6 months of ADSW to assist in Color Guard and Burial details.

In August of 2001 I applied for and was accepted to the Active Reserve Program and reported to VMFA-112 at Joint Reserve Naval Air Station Fort Worth, Texas in January 2002.  Upon reporting, I immediately went to Powerplant and Fuel System A-School in Pensacola, Florida and F-18 C-School in El Centro, California.  I also obtained the 5811 (Military Police) MOS as well as Marksmanship Coach MOS while stationed with VMFA-112.  Also while stationed at VMFA-112 I graduated from Columbia College of Missouri with an Associate in Arts and a Baccalaureate Degree in interdisciplinary Studies.  While stationed with VMFA-112 I deployed to Miramar twice, Eglin AFB, Elmendorf AFB, Norway, Hawaii twice, and completed 1 WestPac.  I was promoted to Sergeant in April 2004.  I then received orders to EOD School in Eglin AFB, Florida in June 2006 and graduated as the Honor Graduate in April 2007.

After graduation from NAVSCHOLEOD I served as an Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Technician at 9th Engineer Support Battalion.  I was promoted to Staff Sergeant in August 2008.  While at 9th ESB, my deployments include KITP 07(South Korea), Balikitan 08(Phillipines), OIF 08-2 as a Team Leader, and a Far East float as a Team Leader with 31st MEU Force Reconnaissance Platoon. I attended Silver Flag, SNCO Academy Career Course, Dynamic Entry, Dynamic Assault, completed the Joint Services Senior SNCO PME, and Dynamics of International Terrorism.  I detached from 9th ESB EOD Company in May 2010 and reported to 7th ESB, 1st EOD Company in June 2010.

Upon reporting to 1st EOD Company I began pre-deployment training for OEF and deployed to Afghanistan in September 2010.  I was assigned to the Kajaki battle space near the Kajaki Dam.  While at Kajaki I lost my team member to an IED on November 19 while performing a search.  On January 3, 2011 I functioned a pressure switch resulting in a low order detonation and ended my Afghanistan deployment.  Since that time I have held a variety of billets to include Training Chief, Operations Chief, and EOD Chief.  I underwent foot reconstruction surgery in April 2012.  In April 2013 it was determined that I am unfit for continued active service and was given a medical retirement date of 29 September, 2013.

My immediate plans are to find a job with either the County or State for a year or two.  During this time I intend to work on my gunsmithing and receive my Federal Firearms License.  My five year plan includes opening a retail gun shop, as well as a shooting complex including distance and clay shooting, leaning heavily toward sponsoring youth marksmanship programs.

We honor you, Eric Olson.
(#Repost @Halo Warrior Foundation)

MAJ Charity Adams

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Major Charity Adams served as the Battalion Commander of the only African-American Women’s Army Corps (WAC) unit to be deployed overseas during World War II. Commanding the 6888th Central Postal Battalion, Adams and her 800 troops were stationed in Birmingham, England.

Although faced with the hardships and inequalities of segregation in the United States Army, Adams and her battalion not only accomplished their mission but earned the respect of their fellow soldiers.

We honor you, Charity Adams.

(#Repost @Defense.gov)

 

Maj Alexander C. Furla

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Maj. Alexander C. Furla served in the U.S. Air Force (active duty 1985-1996, reserve 1996-2006) as an aeromedical evacuation operations officer during the Panama (Just Cause), Persian Gulf (Desert Shield/Storm) and Somalia (Restore Hope) campaigns, having been awarded 13 military service decorations, ribbons and numerous letters of commendation. He also served with the first team to stand up the HQ AMC Tanker Airlift Control Center (TACC) Aeromedical Evacuation from April 1992 to 1996, and with the 375th Aeromedical Airlift Wing, 57th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron, 7276th Air Base Group, and 90th Strategic Missile Wing. Major commands included the Strategic Air Command (SAC), U.S. Air Forces in Europe (USAFE), Military Airlift Command (MAC), Air Mobility Command (AMC) and Air Force Reserve Command (AFRES).

We honor you, Alexander Furla.

(#Repost @The American Legion)

PFC Charles Heyward Barker

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Charles Heyward  Barker was born in Pickens County, South Carolina, on April 12, 1935.  He joined the Army in 1952 and after completing basic training and infantry training was posted to the 7th Infantry Division, Company K of the 17th Infantry Regiment.  In June of 1953 Barker and his platoon were engaged with the rest of the 17th Infantry Regiment in one of the most well-known and hardest fought battles of the Korean War, The Battle of Pork Chop Hill.

Barker, who was a Private at the time, was on patrol with his platoon outside the Pork Chop outpost when they came across a large group of Chinese soldiers digging entrenchments. Barker and another soldier provided covering fire with their rifles and grenades while the rest of the platoon moved to a better position on higher ground. As the fight intensified and ammunition ran low, the platoon was ordered to withdraw to the outpost.

Pfc. Barker moved to an open area firing his rifle and hurling grenades on the hostile positions. As enemy action increased in volume and intensity, mortar bursts fell on friendly positions, ammunition was in critical supply, and the platoon was ordered to withdraw into a perimeter defense preparatory to moving back to the outpost.

Voluntarily electing to cover the retreat, Barker maintained a defense and undoubtedly was responsible for saving the lives of many of his comrades. He was last seen in close hand-to-hand combat with the enemy. Pfc. Barker’s unflinching courage, consummate devotion to duty, and supreme sacrifice enabled the patrol to complete the mission and effect an orderly withdrawal to friendly lines, reflecting lasting glory upon himself and upholding the highest traditions of the military service.

Barker was posthumously promoted to private first class and, on June 7, 1955, awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions on Pork Chop Hill.

We honor you, Charles Barker.

(#Repost @Hawaii Reporter)

 

BG Benjamin O. Davis Sr.

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On Oct. 25, 1940, Benjamin O. Davis Sr. became the first African American to hold star rank in the U.S. Army and in the armed forces. He was promoted to brigadier general, temporary — a situation with which he was all too familiar, as his promotions to major, lieutenant colonel, and colonel had all originally been “temporary.” Such was the situation for black officers in Davis’s day — all two or three of them.

Fortunately for today’s 10,000-plus African-American Army officers, Davis was a patient man. Born in Washington in 1877, he first entered the military as a temporary first lieutenant on July 13, 1898, during the Spanish-American War. Mustered out in 1899, he enlisted as a private just six months later. Within two years, he had been commissioned a second lieutenant of cavalry in the regular Army.

Davis’s service as an officer with the famed “Buffalo Soldiers” regiment in the Philippines and on the Mexican border was exemplary, yet his subsequent assignments as a college ROTC instructor and as a National Guard advisor were far from the front lines. All of his postings, including duty as the military attache to Liberia, were designed to avoid putting Davis in command of white troops or officers.

Because these were not high profile jobs, Davis rose slowly through the ranks, earning his colonel’s eagle only in 1930. In 1938, he received his first independent command, the 369th National Guard Infantry Regiment. When Davis was promoted to brigadier, some saw it as a political action from President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

However, as advisor on race relations in the European theater during World War II, Davis, as his Distinguished Service Medal citation relates, showed “initiative, intelligence and sympathetic understanding” while conducting investigations, bringing about “a fair and equitable solution to … problems which have since become the basis of far-reaching War Department policy.”

Davis’s slow, steady, and determined rise in the Army paved the way for countless minority men and women — including his son Benjamin O. Davis Jr., a West Point graduate who in 1954 became only the second African-American general in the U.S. military and the first in the Air Force.

We honor you, Benjamin Davis Sr.

(#Repost @Military.com)

Sp4c John Philip Baca

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Baca was born on January 10, 1949, in Providence, Rhode Island. He was raised in San Diego, California. Baca was drafted into the United States Army on June 10, 1968.
By February 10, 1970, he was stationed in Vietnam as a Specialist Four with Company D of the 1st Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division. On that day, in Phuoc Long Province, he was serving on a recoilless rifle team when the lead platoon of his company was ambushed. Baca led his team forward through intense fire to reach the besieged platoon. When a fragmentation grenade was tossed into their midst, he “unhesitatingly, and with complete disregard for his own safety,” covered it with his helmet and then laid his body over the helmet, smothering the blast and saving eight fellow soldiers from severe injury or death. Baca survived his wounds and was formally awarded the Medal of Honor by President Richard M. Nixon on March 2, 1971. Two other soldiers in Company D, Allen J. Lynch and Rodney J. Evans, had previously earned the medal.

He says he should have died in Vietnam on Feb. 10, 1970. Baca, a 21-year-old soldier, found himself in the middle of a gunfight and watched a grenade land in the middle of his patrol. “I saw my whole life flash through me. What do I do? Do I pick it up? Do I throw it? Where did it come from? It’s not supposed to be here, and do I run from it? Somebody is going to get wounded,” Baca said. “All these thoughts went through my mind.”

He covered the grenade with his helmet and then covered his helmet with his body, saving the lives of the men around him. He remembers praying to Jesus and feeling as if an angelic presence was holding him as he lay bleeding on the battlefield.

In 1990, Baca returned to Vietnam with ten other soldiers of the Veterans Vietnam Restoration Project. The group spent eight weeks working alongside former North Vietnamese Army soldiers building a health clinic in a village north of Hanoi.
Baca rarely speaks publicly about the events for which he was awarded the Medal of Honor. However, he prefers to recall an event that occurred on Christmas Day, 1969, when he was walking ahead of his unit, acting as “point,” and surprised a young North Vietnamese soldier sitting alone on top of an enemy bunker in the jungle. He saw that the soldier could not reach his rifle quickly and, not wanting to shoot him, yelled in Vietnamese for him to surrender. Not only was he able to take his “Christmas gift” alive and unharmed, the young man, twenty years later, was among the Vietnamese that Baca worked with building the clinic in 1990. Baca remains active in social causes, particularly related to Vietnam veterans issues and the plight of the homeless.

In 2002, a park was named in his honor in Huntington Beach, California. After living in Orange County, Baca moved to Julian, California, enjoying the relative solitude. Gaudette’s pie shop is a local favorite, and Baca is her best customer, sometimes ordering 10 pies a week. Baca says he doesn’t own a television anymore or a computer. Instead, he spends his days talking with people. He listens to their stories and occasionally he shares his.

44 years later, Baca continues to be a giver. The apple pies are proof. They aren’t for him, but for strangers all across the country: Wounded warriors who’ve lost limbs and families who’ve lost loved ones in Iraq and Afghanistan. “It’s just a delight doing this. Making some people happy, people we’ve forgotten about. But, pies…everybody likes pies,” Baca said.

“He is the most generous man I’ve ever met in my life. I don’t think he wants to own anything in this life. He wants to give it all away,” said Mike Murray, a friend and a veteran himself also living in Julian.

We honor you, John Baca.

(#Repost @Hawaii Reporter)

MAJ Emiline Ann “Duce” Bourgeois

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Major Emiline Ann “Duce” Bourgeois, a native of Thibodaux referred to by the National World War II Museum as the oldest living female WWII veteran in Louisiana, whose service also included the Korean and Vietnam wars, died Oct. 30, 2015. She was 103.

In February 1945, near what would eventually be the end of World War II, Bourgeois, then 33, joined the U.S. Army Nurse Corps. Her first assignment saw her serving in the Philippines, nursing wounded soldiers. A second assignment, also in the Philippines, saw her serving in combat hospitals.

In a recent interview with the Houma-Thibodaux magazine & website Point of Vue, Bourgeois recalled how wounded GIs were happy to have an American nurse to talk to. She had many boyfriends, but chose to never marry.

“They were very young, and they didn’t know how old I was because I seemed to always look younger than I am,” she told WWL-TV’s Bill Capo in a 2011 interview where she was celebrated at a Veterans Day ceremony in Thibodaux.

Bourgeois, or “Duce” – the nickname was given to her by her grandfather, referencing the French word for “sweet” – also served in post-World War II occupied Germany. Her last assignment was as head nurse of obstetrics at the West Point Academy Hospital in New York.

Her wartime service was honored with many awards including the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign medal, the World War II Victory Medal, the National Defense Medal, the Germany Occupational Medal, and a West Point Academy patch.

Born on Dec. 24, 1911 in the St. Charles community, south of Thibodaux, young “Duce” attended and graduated from St. Charles High School in 1929. She then headed to New Orleans, where she first found odd jobs, including working at S.H. Kress & Co. dime store on Canal Street. She then enrolled in the Hotel Dieu School of Nursing, from which she graduated in 1941. Her specialty was obstetrics.

As she progressed in her military career after WWII, Bourgeois was awarded the rank of 1st Lieutenant and then Captain. During the Vietnam War, she was assigned to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in New York, where she served as the charge nurse of the obstetrical ward.

She retired in 1962 to care for her parents, who lived well into their 90s. She also returned to nursing, accepting a general nursing position at St. Joseph Hospital, where she would continue to work for 20 years.

We honor you, Emiline Bourgeois.

(#Repost @The Star Press)