Honoring Army Chaplain Colonel Eric Olsenby Representative Christopher P. Gibson
Posted on 2013-12-11
of new york
in the house of representatives
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Mr. GIBSON. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor the honorable and
distinguished career of Army Chaplain Colonel Eric Olsen. I have had
the distinct privilege of knowing Colonel Olsen since serving in the
United States Army.
Born in Staten Island, Chaplain Olsen entered the United States Army in December 1983 through the Pennsylvania National Guard. He completed the Chaplain Candidate Course in 1985 and was subsequently ordained by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in 1988. From 1988 until 1992, he led the parish at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Saranac Lake before going on Active Duty and serving tours of duty in South Carolina, Germany, Egypt and Fort Drum. Finally, he transitioned to the New York National Guard in 1999 where he remained throughout his career.
Chaplain Olsen's long career has included assignments as Assistant Chaplain HHC 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Chaplain HHS 1-156 Field Artillery, Chaplain HHC 27th UEX, and the State Chaplain of the New York National Guard.
A veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Chaplain Olsen deployed to Iraq, operating in the dangerous Sunni Triangle region. Serving as the Battalion Chaplain, his unit conducted combat and stability operations as a part of Task Force Hunter.
During his notable career, Chaplain Olsen earned various awards and decorations including the Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (with bronze oak leaf cluster), Army Commendation Medal (with 3 bronze oak leaf [[Page E1834]] clusters), Army Achievement Medal (with 1 silver oak leaf clusters and 1 bronze oak leaf cluster), Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal (with 3 bronze oak leaf clusters), National Defense Service Medal (with 2 bronze oak leaf clusters), Multinational Force and Observers Medal, Meritorious Unit Citation Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, Army Reserve Components Overseas Training Ribbon, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and Combat Action Badge.
Eric had a truly commendable career, of which he, his wife Susan Marie, and his two sons Garth and Evan should all be very proud. Notably, he made the difficult sacrifice of serving both the United States as well as the higher power of God. I would like to wish him and his family all of the best in his future service and retirement from the United States Army and New York National Guard.