Weatherford Democrat

Top News

October 5, 2012

A veteran adventurer

PARKER COUNTY — Linda Olson has a pretty large family. But she and other family members have something more in common than genetics — 13 of them are veterans, having served in the Vietnam War.

“We all made it back safely, even though some of us came back with Agent Orange problems,” she said. “And of that group, I was the only female.

“I was the leader of the pack — the instigator.”

It’s the feistiness and drive that remain with Olson, spurring her career in the Army as well.

“My mom told me I was 7 months old when I started walking and I told her that was because I had somewhere to go,” she said.

As a teenager, Olson loved school, but wanted to go overseas and see the world, which prompted her to join the military.

“My dad didn’t really know about women in the military, other than what he had read,” she said. “He didn’t think it was a place I would belong.”

Olson’s original recruiting appointment was with an Air Force representative, but when the meeting was canceled at the last minute Olson was approached by an Army recruiter, who encouraged her to enlist.

Olson’s first duty station was in San Francisco, and she got her first overseas orders prior to Labor Day.

“Every Friday, I would go and look for my name [on the list of which soldiers were being sent overseas], and one day, I finally saw it,” she said. “I was just ready to go.”

Olson was cautioned by family about her three-year commitment, but didn’t think too much about it — until a punishment involving cleaning and a toothbrush.

“I realized that three years was a very long time as I was scrubbing the stairway with a toothbrush,” she said. “In the Army, you learn to work as a team, and their goal is to break you down as an individual.”

While in Okinawa, Olson had an impromptu family reunion when her younger brother was dropped off at the base on his way to Vietnam.

“That was one of the hardest things for me — to drop him off at that airstrip,” she recalled. “We were never really close, and still aren’t, but when I pulled up, I didn’t know if I was ever going to see him again.”

In Japan, Olson worked as a member of the payroll personnel, as women, at that time, weren’t allowed in combat.

After serving out her duties, Olson returned to Texas, joining the Army Reserves for eight years while working for the Department of Defense in Dallas.

“I wanted to go back in, but the Army had changed,” she said. “I was an E-7, and I couldn’t tell the E-1s to remove their earrings. Plus I had kids and other obligations.”

Nowadays, Olson is still traveling, this time across the United States, as a pipeline inspector.

“I would go back if I could,” she said of the Army. “I still have friends from basic training that I keep in touch with.”

1
Text Only
Top News
  • students.jpg Is opting out an option?

    One local parent has taken it upon herself to make her voice heard. Michelle Osterkamp, who has two children attending Mary Martin Elementary, began to research the opt-out method after talking with some of her teacher friends.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Biz Index 1.jpg Let's get physical

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • EXTENSION NEWS: Take a mind vacation

    For many of us, every day has some sort of stress associated with it. Whether it is something at home or at work, it seems like there are a million things stressing us out and making us feel overwhelmed.

    April 20, 2014

  • VETERANS’ CORNER: Veterans’ needs the target of recent discussions

    Ministers responsible for Veterans Affairs and officials from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States completed a series of meetings April 8-11 at the United States Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., discussing the latest research, best practices and various areas of collaboration to address the growing needs of veterans.

    April 20, 2014

  • MILLSAP MATTERS: Reunion time approaches

    MILLSAP – For many people this is the time of year that reunions are held. In that light, Millsap alumni will be enjoying their annual school reunion on Saturday, April 26.

    April 20, 2014

  • larry jones cropped:color NOW HEAR THIS: The fox and the hound, plus Max

    Almost without exception, most farms are protected to some degree by guard animals. Dogs and cats are most commonly used to defend against intruders and nuisance pests around the farmstead. In recent years with the proliferation of coyotes, many folks are using guard donkeys or llamas to protect their livestock.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Laws can’t be ignored

    Senator Harry Reid said, “We just can’t let people ignore the law.”

    April 20, 2014

  • Taste of Parker County logo.jpg Canyon West to host Taste of Parker County

    Prepare your taste buds, because the sixth annual Taste of Parker County is just a few short weeks away, and this year’s event has moved to a larger location to accommodate even more great eats and treats.

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0420 one USAF riders IMG_7940.jpg Riding high

    Members of the United States Air Force Cycling Team, preparing to participate in the 12th annual Ride for Heroes in Aledo Saturday, met Friday with their supporters — members of the Bush Legacy Republican Women of Weatherford — for a pre-ride photo shoot at the historic courthouse followed by pre-ride carbo loading at Milano’s in Willow Park.

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • Grand jury indictments for April returned

    A Parker County grand jury on Thursday indicted a man accused of breaking into his neighbor’s home and threatening him with a BB gun before engaging in a brief standoff with deputies.

    April 19, 2014

Must Read
Top News
House Ads
AP Video
Poll

The City of Weatherford is considering an ordinance that would ban smoking inside restaurants and enclosed areas where food is prepared, sold or consumed. Do you agree with this proposal?

Yes
No
Undecided
Don't care
     View Results