Following a rededication ceremony Sept. 26, Soldiers look at the display that honors their fallen comrade and the namesake of the Staff Sgt. Michael H. Ollis Weapons Training Center at Fort Drum. (Photo by Mike Strasser, Fort Drum Garrison Public Affairs)
Triple Deuce Soldiers, guests honor
fallen warrior at building rededication
Fort Drum Garrison Public Affairs
FORT DRUM, N.Y. (Sept. 26, 2019) – Soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (LI), and invited guests honored a fallen comrade Sept. 26 during the rededication ceremony of the Staff Sgt. Michael H. Ollis Weapons Training Center at Fort Drum.
On Aug. 28, 2013, Ollis sacrificed his life when he shielded Polish army Lt. Karol Cierpica from a suicide bomber attack inside Forward Operating Base Ghazni in Afghanistan.
Ollis was posthumously awarded the Silver Star, which was upgraded to the Distinguished Service Cross by Vice Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. James McConville during a ceremony June 8 on Staten Island.
At the rededication ceremony, Robert Ollis spoke about his son’s passion for the Army. As a Vietnam War veteran, he did not experience the same camaraderie and support that his son often spoke about with him.
“I envied Michael,” he said. “Michael had this love affair with the Army, and I totally understand it. I thank the officers and the NCOs and the Army, how it is today. Thank you for what you’ve done for Michael.”
Top: Robert Ollis talks about his son, Staff Sgt. Michael Ollis, during the rededication ceremony of the Staff Sgt. Michael H. Ollis Weapons Training Center on Sept. 26 at Fort Drum. Bottom: Lt. Col. Rex Howry, commander of 2nd Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, joins Robert and Linda Ollis to unveil the new plaque during the ceremony.
Ollis said that his son is missed every day, not just by Family, but by the entire Staten Island community where they live.
“We can’t go to the supermarket without somebody coming over and again giving us condolences, six years later,” he said.
Ollis and his wife, Linda, contributed some of their son’s personal items to a shadow box that is displayed at the entrance of the facility. During his remarks, Ollis thanked Jeff Fox from Fort Drum Public Works Sign Shop for designing and building the tribute to his son.
“Thank you for all you did to honor our son,” he said. “This is one of the greatest things, I think, that Michael ever received.”
Lt. Col. Rex Howry, 2-22 Infantry commander, and Command Sgt. Maj. Gregory Harmon, battalion senior enlisted adviser, joined Robert and Linda Ollis for the plaque unveiling.
Howry said that Ollis embodied the Triple Deuce motto, “Deeds, not words,” and the Army values.
“Bob and Linda, thank you for teaching your son how to live a life of honor,” he said. “Know that what I say here or what we do here cannot capture what your brave son gave in protection of others. But we can never forget what he did for our country.”
Howry said that Ollis continues to serve as an example of how everyone should live their lives.
“Sgt. Ollis made honor his mantra,” he said. “So, train like Mike, live like Mike. Deeds, not words.”
The facility, previously named Range 2, was originally dedicated to Ollis in June 2015. A 2013 article detailing the actions for which Ollis was awarded the Silver Star can be read at https://www.army.mil/article/114151/parents_of_fallen_fort_drum_warrior_receive_silver_star_on_sons_behalf.