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)

CPT Ted Williams

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The Baseball Hall of Famer smashed 521 home runs during his career in spite of missing nearly five full seasons to serve in the military. During World War II, the Boston Red Sox slugger trained as a pilot and gunner but did not see any combat. After playing just six games of the 1952 season—and homering in his last at bat—Williams was recalled for military service and deployed to Korea. Williams flew 39 combat missions as a Marine Corps pilot, including several as Glenn’s wingman. The 16-time All Star’s plane was hit by enemy gunfire at least three times, and he was lucky to survive a wheels-up “belly” landing after one of his missions. Williams was formally discharged following the cease-fire in July 1953 with three air medals.

We honor you, Ted Williams.

(#Repost @ https://www.history.com/news/10-famous-korean-war-veterans)

SSgt John P. Jones

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Staff Sergeant John P. Jones was born March 12, 1977 and was raised in Enid, OK. He joined the United States Marine Corps in July 1995, and underwent recruit training at MCRD San Diego. He completed recruit training and was assigned to SOI west at Camp Pendleton, CA where he was assigned the MOS of 0331 Machine Gunner. After completion of his MOS School, he was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines, Company “G” Weapons Platoon, where he was deployed to Okinawa, Japan in 1996. Upon completion of his tour with 2/7, he then transferred to 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, Company “C” in 1997 where he deployed again to Okinawa, Japan in 1999 and held security for the G-8 Summit and participated in Cobra Gold 2000. He then transferred to Marine Corps Security Forces Training Company where he was a Cadre Instructor and Non-Lethal Weapons Instructor.

In 2002, Staff Sergeant Jones was transferred to Bahrain where he participated in Operations Southern Watch and Operation Iraqi Freedom 1. He then transferred to 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, Company “C” again and deployed to Operation Iraqi Freedom 2 in August 2004. During his deployment, SSgt Jones was severely injured when his hummer ran over a double-stacked anti-tank mine. SSgt Jones underwent 30 surgeries at NNMC Bethesda, MD attempting to save his legs. As a result of his injuries, SSgt Jones lost both legs below the knees.

SSgt Jones transferred down to BAMC San Antonio, TX where he rehabilitated his legs and gradually began the process of walking again with prosthesis. In 2005, he joined 4th Reconnaissance Battalion where he was assigned as the Operations and Training SNCOIC. SSgt Jones medically retired from the USMC in 2007, putting in a total of 12 years of service to his country. Shortly after retirement, SSgt Jones began training fellow wounded servicemen and women with the F.A.T.S. System (Fire Arms Training Simulator). He devoted his time and effort to help retrain service-members how to shoot their weapons effectively with their new disabilities. SSgt Jones had a 100% success rate to include graduation of various amputees, burn victims, and blind patients.

SSgt Jones was the Executive Director of Wall Street Warfighters Foundation.  Wall Street Warfighters Foundation helps disabled veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan find jobs in the financial industry.  During his time at WWSF he developed the training programs for the participants.  He was an intricate part of the development of the job hiring processes with various banks and financial institutions

SSgt Jones is working for the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation, as a development officer and special projects. MCSF provides scholarships to the children of Marines and Navy personnel that have been killed in action, wounded in action, and for those that have served the US Marines and Navy Corpsmen whom are attached to the Marines.

We honor you, John Jones.

(#Repost @Halo Warrior Foundation)

Sgt Bob Williams

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In the summer of 2012—almost 70 years to the day he joined the Marines at age 17—Bob Williams presented his story to Todd DePastino’s World War II History class at the Canonsburg campus of Waynesburg University.  Bob landed at Parris Island at a hard time for the Marines.  The Corps was so short of manpower that the teenage Bob soon became a drill instructor, barking orders at recruits a dozen years older than he.

By 1944, Bob had transferred to the new 24th Marine Regiment, which, along with the 23rd and the 25th, became part of the 4th Marine Division.  When the 4th Marines stepped aboard ship in San Diego, they would not touch dry land again unless they were fighting on it.  There would be four island invasions over the next thirteen months: Roi Namor, Saipan, Tinian, and Iwo Jima.

Bob made it only as fas as Saipan.  Like so many combat veterans, he considers himself very lucky.  So many close calls.  So many killed by fire that should have struck him.  Finally, on July 4, 1944, he did get hit.

It was still dark when Sgt. Williams saw the grenade land at his feet.  He scrambled for a bomb crater.  The grenade exploded, and Bob, expecting another grenade, jumped up and started running.  He noticed a loose rope flopping around him.  It was his arm, disabled by the blast.  Bob would spend the next year in military hospitals.  His arm would heal well enough for Bob to earn a living as a wallpaper hanger back in Pennsylvania.

Recently, Bob’s daughter Pam Rose sent a summary of his VBC interview to the Camp Pendleton Historical Society, which published his account in its 2014 first quarter edition.

We honor you, Bob Williams.

(#Repost @http://veteransbreakfastclub.com/veterans-breakfast-club-interview-prompts-article/)

MSgt Catherine G. Murray

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The first female Marine to retire from the U.S. Marine Corps was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery on [January 23, 2018].

Catherine G. Murray, who passed away last month at the age of 100, enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserves in 1943 after hearing President Franklin D. Roosevelt announce the Pearl Harbor attack over the radio. She transferred to active duty five years later.

Her first assignment was as a motor transport Marine during World War II. After the war, she was one of the first female Marines transferred to Hawaii.

During her service, Murray was a fierce advocate for women, once standing up to two colonels after she felt they were not giving female Marines enough credit, according to her YouTube channel.

In 1962, Murray was the first woman to retire from the Corps, achieving the rank of Master Sergeant.

Even after her retirement, Murray continued to serve her country, becoming the first enlisted woman to join the Fleet Marine Reserves where she served until 1972.

Murray passed away December 20, 2017.

 

We honor you, Catherine Murray.

(#Repost @ABC News)

Holsey Gillis

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Holsey Gillis was born in Georgia and was one of six brothers and two sisters in the family. His father had a farm and Holsey learned to work at an early age. Between climbing pecan trees to knock down the nuts to milking cows, Holsey kept busy. After graduating from high school, he was drafted into the U.S. Marine Corps. At that time, there was a quota of accepting seven African Americans a day at Ft. Benning, GA. Holsey went with two other friends and was the final cut for that day. He did his Basic Training at Montfort Point, NC, which was very tough. For example, if one person made a misstep in marching, the group would stop in formation until the person ran to the river, crossed it and returned. All of this in the hot North Carolina sun. However, one accomplishment at the base was having these Marines set records for target shooting with their 150 mm guns.

After Basic Training, Holsey was sent overseas aboard a Landing Ship Tank (LST) through the Panama Canal with the 10th Depot Company. He still remembers the engineering feat of going through the locks to get from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean. After almost two month of riding the rough waves, Holsey made it to Guadalcanal, which was secured by this time and then he was sent to New Caledonia. Holsey was in Guam during the Invasion of Saipan. Next, he was sent to the Invasion at Okinawa and, in a pouring rain he descended from the ship on ropes into very rough water to board a small boat to get to the beach. He stayed here until the end of the war and was sent back to Montfort Point. Hoping to be home for Christmas, Holsey missed out by a few days and was finally discharged at the age of 21.

After attending Morehouse College for a few semesters, Holsey decided to get back to what he enjoyed, working with his hands. He moved to Philadelphia, PA and worked in a tailor shop, a service station and ended up as a Firestone Tire Manager in Hyattsville, MD. In June 2012, Holsey was one of about 400 African American Marines throughout the country that received the Congressional Gold Medal from Congress in Washington, DC for their service during World War II.

We honor you, Holsey Gillis.

(#Repost @AFRH)

PFC Samuel Tom Holiday

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Holiday, who was born to a medicine woman in Monument Valley on the Arizona-Utah border, was unsure of his exact birthday, but family members assigned him the date of June 2, 1924, based on the weather and season at the time.

Holiday was 19 when he went through Marine Corps boot camp in 1943. He joined a group of Native Americans who used their native language, which had complex grammar and was unfamiliar to the rest of the world, to develop a communication code for the U.S. military that enemies could not decipher.

Twenty-nine Navajos were recruited to launch the Code Talkers program, but there were more than 400 by the end of the war.

During the war, Holiday served with the 25th Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division, joining operations in Saipan, Iwo Jima, Tinian, Marshall Island and other parts of the Pacific Theater.

An exploded mortar injured one of his ears, which he said left him with some hearing loss. He would later tell his family that, despite that, he always felt safe during battle, protected by a pouch worn around his neck that held sacred stones and yellow corn pollen.

Holiday said in a recent interview that on two occasions he was mistaken for a Japanese solider by his fellow Americans, with some of the men who knew him jumping in to defend him. That, however, did not cause his dedication to the cause to waver, he said.

After the war, Holiday returned to the Navajo Reservation, working as a police officer and ranger before starting his own heavy equipment company.

He married Lupita Mae Isaac in 1954, and they had seven daughters and one son.

For decades, Holiday’s participation with the Code Talkers was a secret. The operation wasn’t declassified until 1968, and Holiday didn’t share with family members much about the details until the 1980s.

In 1982, Holiday and the rest of the Code Talkers were given a Certificate of Recognition by then-President Ronald Reagan. Twelve years later, President Bill Clinton awarded Congressional Gold Medals to the 29 original Code Talkers.

Holiday and the others received Congressional Silver Medals, which Holiday sometimes wore along with his others, including a Purple Heart.

Holiday became an advocate for sharing the Code Talker history, telling his own personal story and educating others about the role Navajos played in the war.

At veterans events, he would wear his medals and don other symbols of his background: turquoise jewelry for the Diné, or Navajo; a red Marine Corps cap; and earth-colored clothing picked to celebrate Navajo heritage.

He also shared his experiences in Under the Eagle: Samuel Holiday, Navajo Code Talker, a book he co-wrote with Robert S. McPherson. It was published in 2013 by the University of Oklahoma Press.

Holiday would visit schools in the St. George area to tell them about the war and his experiences. When he visited Riverside Elementary School last year, he held the children’s attention as he recounted a particularly fearsome battle. The fifth-graders’ nervousness as he told them how he ducked into a foxhole to avoid the spray of bullets changed to laughter as the tale ended with Holiday’s comrade yelling, “I’m hit!” — only to then see that a frog had jumped on his back.

“This doesn’t happen very often where you get to experience and see and hear the person who was actually there instead of just talking about it,” teacher Mala Shakespear said at the time.

We honor you, Samuel Tom Holiday.

(#Repost @https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2018/06/12/navajo-code-talker-samuel-holiday-dies/693943002/)