Monday, October 25, 2010

SSgt Olson Wounded in Afghanistan

~Summary of story by Carl Bergquist, AU/PA

IED Attack While on Patrol
Staff Sergeant Brent Olson, 42nd SFS military working dog handler, was wounded by an improvised explosive device (IED) in Afghanistan in September 2010. SSgt Olson was just steps behind an Afghan Army soldier when the IED exploded. It killed the Afghan soldier, and wounded SSgt Olson. SSgt Olson's MWD Blek was also wounded in the explosion.

Subsequent to the initial attack, there were four additional IED explosions that day in the general area, although there were no reports of any more deaths or injuries.

SSgt Brent Olson and MWD Blek - 2010
Recovering From War Wounds
Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Germany
(Courtesy photo from official Maxwell AFB web site)

Recovery in Germany and Stateside
SSgt Olson was recovering at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, TX, were he was treated into October 2010. He was awarded the Purple Heart before being airlifted from Afghanistan. He was initially sent to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Germany, where he was reunited with MWD Blek. Blek was later sent to Dover AFB, DE.

Support From Fellow Security Forces
LtCol Resti Andin, Commander, 42nd SFS, had high praise for SSgt Olson whom he described as an inspiration for the 42nd SFS. Col Andin reiterated how important the mission of SF troops is. He related that 30 more SFs have been deployed to defend America just since SSgt Olson was wounded.

  • We will be updating this story with information on how folks can send their good wishes to SSgt Olson for his full recovery.

  • Let's keep him, and all of our troops who are in harm's way, in our thoughts and prayers.

Click HERE for the full Maxwell AFB story

SSgt Olson Welcomed Home to Maxwell
SSgt Olson was welcomed home to Maxwell on October 13, 2010, which is great news. In the picture below, Col Brian M. Killough, Commander, 42nd Air Base Wing, welcomes him home.

Col Killough Welcomes SSgt Olson Home to Maxwell AFB - 2010
(Official USAF photo by Melanie Rodgers Cox)

Blek Retires Due to Injuries
In the following picture, TSgt Ryan Veith, 42nd SFS Kennel Master, tends to MWD Blek. Blek, unfortunately, had permanent hearing loss due to the IED explosion, and has been retired as a working dog. He will, however, be adopted by SSgt Olson.

MWD Blek and TSgt Ryan Veith - 2010
(Official USAF photo by Melanie Rodgers Cox)

Col Killough On the 42nd's Combat Heritage

With the approach of the 42nd Air Base Wing's 70th Anniversary, Col Killough gave a recap of the 42nd's history. He noted that it was formed during World War II, and continued service during the Vietnam War and Desert Storm. The 42nd moved from Loring AFB, ME, to Maxwell-Gunter in 1994. Col Killough noted that the 42nd's combat mission continues, acknowledging SSgt Olson in his comments:

We are here at Maxwell-Gunter as an air base wing, but our combat heritage continues. The latest example of that is the service exhibited by 42nd Security Forces Squadron military working dog handler Staff Sergeant Brent Olson and his military working dog, Blek, who just returned from Afghanistan.
             ~Col Brian Killough, 42nd ABW Commander

Click HERE for the follow-up story


Anonymous said...

SSgt Olson,

Thank you for your service to our country, to Maxwell, and the 42nd SFS. Hoping and praying that you have a full and speedy recovery.


Philip "J.P." Brown
Maxwell AFB SP, 1976-79

Tom Kovach said...

I'm glad to hear that both are mostly recovered from their combat injuries. And, it's nice to know that SSgt Olson will be able to adopt Blek. (It was another SP, a few years ago, that was the driving force behind Congress to change the law so that military members could adopt their dogs upon retirement.) Military Working Dogs have an advantage over other dogs that lose their hearing, because MWDs are taught hand signals. I'm sure that, in time, SSgt Olson and Blek will be able to develop a "home sign" language that will enable them to even better enjoy their time together. SSgt Olson, if you read this, perhaps the VA can help you to learn Sign Language, if you're interested. I'd be glad to advise. (I worked as a Sign Language interpreter in the Nashville school system for two years.)

Anonymous said...

Praising God that all are doing well. We continue at our church to pray and remember ALL those who are fighting for our freedom. You are are such a blessing to us. I continue to thank anyone I see in uniform for their service. Thank you so much! Julie & Mike Brasher

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