By Marine Corps Sgt. Devin Nichols
24th Marine Expeditionary Unit
USS FORT MCHENRY, March 4, 2015 – Marine Corps Sgt. Cody L. Olson, an M1A1 Abrams main battle tank technician with Combat Logistics Battalion 24, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, emulated his father when he joined the Marines.
Olson, 26, followed in the footsteps of his father, Richard, who was also a Marine sergeant, and also has history with large Marine Corps vehicles.
Richard Olson was a logistics vehicle systems operator in the late 1980s and early 1990s. In 1990, when Cody was two years old, the elder Olson deployed in support of Operation Desert Storm, providing logistics support for the accumulation of troops in Saudi Arabia before the Marines pushed into Kuwait.
When Richard’s enlistment came to an end, he started working for the Marine Corps as a civil service employee at the Marine Corps Logistics Base in Albany, Georgia. That’s where Cody grew up.
Interest in Marine Corps’ Lore
“He took an interest at a very young age and was interested in all aspects of the Marine Corps,” Richard said. “He wanted to know all about the history, customs and courtesies, weapons and field ops.”
To the delight of young Cody, the Olson house was often full of gear, uniforms and books. Instead of playing video games and watching television all day, Sergeant Olson said he would take items like his dad’s entrenchment tool and practice digging fighting holes in the back yard.
“I used to wear my dad’s utility uniforms and pretend I was him when I would paintball in the woods around the house,” Cody said. “Growing up in our house, I would find myself interested in Marine Corps gear and I would just research it in my dad’s ‘green monster’ [guidebook], so I understood what purpose it had.”
Olson remembers his dad leaving for training operations and deployments and said he understood that his dad was protecting his family.
Joins the Marine Corps
After high school, Cody decided to enlist in the Marine Corps. He said he remembered his dad sharing stories about the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in Parris Island, South Carolina, with its sand fleas and screaming drill instructors. Soon after, he found himself in the same place, standing on the same yellow footprints that his father had.
Richard Olson said he’s not an emotional person, but he admitted he was almost “choked up” with extreme pride when his son graduated recruit training.
Now that Cody has deployed, he and his father understand each other that much more.
“We've always had a pretty close relationship,” Richard said. “Now we can have ‘Marine Corps’ talk, which is pretty cool.”