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)

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)

 

SSG Charles Rangel

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The long-time U.S. Congressman from Manhattan enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1948 after dropping out of high school. During the Korean War, Rangel served with the all-black 503rd Field Artillery Battalion in the 2nd Infantry Division. During the fierce Battle of Kunu-ri in November 1950, the Chinese Army encircled Rangel and 40 of his fellow soldiers. Despite sustaining shrapnel wounds, Rangel led his comrades to safety from behind enemy lines. Rangel’s actions earned him the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star for Valor. After the war, he completed high school and became a lawyer and civil rights activist before winning a congressional seat in 1970.

We honor you, Charles Rangel.

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

CPL James Bumgarner “Garner”

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In his memoir, Garner claimed to have been the first Oklahoman drafted into the Korean War. Born James Bumgarner (he shortened his named when he began acting), the future star of “Maverick” and “The Rockford Files” served as a U.S. Army private in the 5th Regimental Combat Team, which sustained heavy casualties in Korea. On just his second day in Korea, Garner was hit with shrapnel from a mortar round while on patrol and sustained minor injuries to his hand and face. In April 1951, he was hospitalized after dislocating a shoulder, suffering phosphorous burns and being struck in the upper leg while diving into a foxhole. Garner, who received two Purple Hearts for his injuries, made his film debut in 1956 and starred in several war dramas including “The Great Escape.”

We honor you, James Garner.

(#Repost @https://www.history.com/news/10-famous-korean-war-veterans; https://army.togetherweserved.com/army/servlet/tws.webapp.WebApps?cmd=ShadowBoxProfile&type=Person&ID=274657)

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)

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)

CPL Jessica Ellis

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Jessica Ellis was born in Burley, Idaho on June 26, 1983. She graduated from Lakeview (Oregon) High School in 2002, where she was active in cross country, track and field, and the swim team. After high school graduation she attended Central Oregon Community College in Bend, while working summers as a US Forest Service firefighter on the Fremont National Forest in southern Oregon.

In September 2004, Jessica entered the US Army with the goal of becoming a Medic. After successful completion of basic training at Ft. Leonard Wood, MO, and the Combat Medic training program at Ft. Sam Houston, TX, she was assigned to the Army’s 101st Airborne Division. CPL Ellis completed her first 12-month combat tour in Iraq in 2006. She earned the Combat Medic Badge on this first tour for treating a wounded buddy under direct enemy fire. She left for a second Iraq tour in October 2007. She served both tours as a Combat Medic with the 2nd Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). Fellow soldiers called her “Doc” Ellis.

In April, 2008 CPL Ellis and four other soldiers escaped serious injury during a night time “road clearing” operation in Baghdad when their vehicle was struck by a roadside bomb. They were riding in a “Buffalo”, a heavily armored vehicle that is primarily used by combat engineers to clear roadside bombs. Jessica sustained superficial injuries in the attack which wrecked the armored vehicle. She returned to the road clearing duties because she didn’t want “her guys” to be out on missions without a Medic.

Her combat engineer unit was attacked again while on combat patrol in NW Baghdad the evening of May 11, 2008 (Mother’s Day). The Buffalo armored vehicle in which Jessica was riding was struck by at least one EFP (explosively formed penetrator) warhead. Jessica died in the attack. She was awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart.

CPL Ellis was buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA. Her courage, cheerful spirit, and devotion to fellow soldiers were noted many times to her parents and family by the 101st Airborne Division. She is honored at the Division’s memorial at Ft. Campbell, Kentucky. CPL Ellis’s name is also engraved on the Afghan-Iraqi Freedom Memorial in Salem, Oregon where more than one hundred of Oregon’s fallen veterans are honored.

We honor you, Jessica Ellis.

(#Repost @Fallen Heroes Project)