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Col. Charles Olson to speak to DAR

Retired Col. Charles S. Olson will speak to the Judith Randolph-Longwood Chapter NSDAR Saturday at 10:30 a.m. at the Randolph District Fire Department, 2145 Cumberland Road.

The public is invited to hear Olson, who will share his experiences as senior leader and combat veteran.

He will be speaking on behalf of all veterans and their military service.

The local chapter honors veterans everywhere.

Olson has served in the U.S. Army and in the U.S. Air Force for many years.

While serving as an aeromedical officer in the Army, Olson was a rescue pilot at the U.S. Army Aviation Center.

He provided 24/7 crash response and medical evacuation for the flight-training center and roadside military assistance to Traffic and Safety (MAST) within lower Alabama and the Florida Panhandle.

In 1991 he was deployed to Operation Desert Storm as medical evacuation pilot and assisted in 205 combat evacuations within Iraq, Saudia Arabia and Kuwait.   

As an officer within the U.S. Air Force, Olson became the overseas predator commander on Sept. 11, 2001.

The UAV mission was to assist the enforcement of the southern no-fly zone over Iraq.  On Oct. 10, 2001, he was the

aircraft commander of a predator that was shot down by Iraqi surface to air missiles. One week later he deployed a detachment of 80 personnel from Ali Al Salem Air Base in Kuwait to a forward staging area in Jacobabad, Pakistan.

He set up complex UAV operations from a bare base facility, dealt with combat exhaustion, battle fatigue and the combat losses of predator aircraft.

Olson guided 24/7 operations generating 1,111 combat support flight hours for Operation Enduring Freedom.

Olson, who served our country for 26 years,  was awarded the Humanitarian Service Medal and Air Medal as part of a humanitarian ground and air team that delivered medical aid, food and materials to Iraqi populations south of the line of demarcation. Colonel Olson also earned the Bronze Star for leadership.