USS FORT MCHENRY, At sea -- Parents often share special bonds with their children, creating relationships that are close and certain. Fathers and sons, in particular, might enjoy playing catch, watching their favorite football team or restoring a car together. Sergeant Cody L. Olson, an M1A1 Abrams main battle tank technician with Combat Logistics Battalion 24, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, shares a special bond with his father, Richard—they both belong to the same “gun club.”
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 90s. He deployed to Operation Desert Storm in 1990, when Cody was two, providing logistics support for the accumulation of troops in Saudi Arabia before 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.
“He took an interest at a very young age and was interested in all aspects of the Marine Corps,” said Richard. “He wanted to know all about the history, customs and courtesies, weapons and field ops, just to name a few.”
The Olson house was often full of gear, uniforms and books that a young Cody took an interest in. Instead of playing video games and watching television all day, Cody 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,” said Cody. “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’ so I understood what purpose it had.”
Even though he was young, Cody remembers his dad leaving for training operations and deployments and said he understood that his dad was protecting his family.
After high school, Cody decided to enlist in the Marine Corps and step on the same yellow footprints at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, that his father did.
Cody says his dad would share stories about Parris Island—sand fleas and screaming drill instructors. When he graduated recruit training in 2012, there wasn’t much he had to say out loud to his dad—he already knew.
When Richard was asked what kind of emotions he had when he saw his oldest son graduate, he said he was extremely proud and almost “choked up” even though he is not an emotional person.
Now that Cody has deployed, he and his father understand each other that much more.
“We've always had a pretty close relationship,” said Richard. “Now we can have ‘Marine Corps’ talk, which is pretty cool. I'm extremely proud to have a son who is a United States Marine, and the fact that he takes it very serious and is a true professional makes me more proud.”
Cody is embarked, along with most of CLB 24, aboard the amphibious dock landing ship USS Fort McHenry (LSD 43), where he is responsible for the M88A2 Hercules Armored Recovery Vehicle, among other things.
The 24th MEU, based out of Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, is deployed with the Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group and provides a forward-deployed, flexible, sea-based force tasked with providing crisis response across the range of military operations, from armed conflict to humanitarian assistance in the 5th Fleet area of operations.