Maj. Gen. Milford H. Beagle Jr. and Command Sgt. Maj. Mario O. Terenas, 10th Mountain Division (LI) and Fort Drum commander and senior enlisted adviser, present Robert and Linda Ollis, parents of Staff Sgt. Michael H. Ollis, with the Warrior Legend Hall of Fame medallion and certificate. Inductees of the 10th Mountain Division (LI) and Fort Drum Warrior Legend Hall of Fame have distinguished themselves in the highest tradition of military service, and through a lifetime of service and support to the nation and to the division. (Photo by Mike Strasser, Fort Drum Garrison Public Affairs)
New class of Warrior Legends inducted during 10th Mountain Division ceremony
Fort Drum Garrison Public Affairs
FORT DRUM, N.Y. (Sept. 2, 2021) – Inductees of the 10th Mountain Division (LI) and Fort Drum Warrior Legend Hall of Fame have distinguished themselves in the highest tradition of military service, and through a lifetime of service and support to the nation and to the division.
The five new members of the Hall of Fame, recognized during a ceremony Sept. 1 at the Multipurpose Auditorium, are as follows:
* Brig. Gen. Onslow S. Rolfe – Rolfe served as the first commander of 1st Battalion, 87th Mountain Infantry Regiment, from 1941 to 1942 and as the regimental commander of 87th Mountain Infantry Regiment from May to September 1942. Based on the expertise he developed in establishing the 87th Mountain Infantry Regiment, Rolfe was promoted to brigadier general in 1942 and was placed in command of the newly created Mountain Training Center at Camp Hale, Colorado. Rolfe established innovative and difficult training requirements for a fully combined arms team that could operate while geographically dispersed.
* Maj. Roger Eddy – Eddy served in the 10th Mountain Division from 1942 until 1945 in the Aleutian Islands, Northern Apennines, and in the Po Valley Campaigns of World War II. He served honorably as a company grade officer and commander of K Company, 87th Mountain Infantry Regiment. Upon completion of his military service, he owned and operated Eddy Farm in Newington, Connecticut. He later served as a Connecticut State House representative from 1959 to 1961 and a state senator from 1967 to 1971. His awards received for service within the division include the Silver Star with Oak Leaf Cluster, Bronze Star and the Combat Infantryman Badge.
* Deborah Bankart-Eddy – Bankart-Eddy was critical in the recruiting campaign that built the skiing and mountaineering nucleus of the early 10th Mountain Division. An expert skier, she was the third certified female ski instructor in 1939 and the first female ski school director in the United States. Her commitment to the 10th Mountain Division brought her to Italy during World War II, where she volunteered with the American Red Cross. While in Italy, she served with a front line Clubmobile Service that provided service members with food, entertainment and “a connection home.” Following the war, she married Capt. (later Maj.) Roger Eddy and continued serving her community.
* Command Sgt. Maj. Christopher K. Greca – Greca served as the 2nd Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment’s command sergeant major; as senior enlisted adviser with the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division from 2004 to 2008; and as the 10th Mountain Division command sergeant major from 2010 to 2011. He previously served with the 75th Ranger Regiment and as the U.S Central Command’s senior enlisted adviser. His dedication to leader development and Soldier well-being has had a tremendous impact on the 10th Mountain Division and the U.S. Army.
* Staff Sgt. Michael H. Ollis – Ollis served as a squad leader assigned to 2nd Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment. On Aug. 28, 2013, insurgents conducted a complex attack on Forward Operating Base Ghanzi in Afghanistan, initiated by a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED). This was followed by a series of suicide bombers armed with hand grenades. Despite being off duty, Ollis rushed to the breach site. Upon arrival, he encountered a wounded Polish officer. As a suicide bomber approached, Ollis shielded the officer from the blast with his own body, saving the man’s life while sacrificing his own. For these actions, Ollis received the Distinguished Service Cross.
“Today, we honor the Soldiers and our supporters of this great division who have made and, in many cases, continue to make a tremendous impact on our division,” said Maj. Gen. Milford H. Beagle Jr., 10th Mountain Division (LI) and Fort Drum commander.
Beagle said there have been numerous individuals who have left a lasting legacy within the division without them ever having seeking fame or recognition.
“Those honored today, and many like them, probably never set out to one day be recognized in the Hall of Fame,” he said. “And I know some of the inductees today and that probably never was their goal or thought. I would venture to say they simply set out to make a difference and be value added. That’s what most good Soldiers do.”
Beagle said that Albert Einstein got it right when he said, “Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.”
“Our inductees did just that, not only through their service but through their sacrifice and devotion to our beloved division,” Beagle said. “They rolled up their sleeves and they set out to simply be of value.”
In his induction speech, Greca said that he was humbled to receive this recognition and grateful for the opportunity to have served in the 10th Mountain Division.
“Why? Because it is the best division in the Army,” he said.
Greca recognized two mentors and role models in the audience – retired Command Sgt. Maj. Frank Grippe and retired Command Sgt. Maj. Richard Merritt – who were members of last year’s inaugural Hall of Fame class.
“My good friend Rick Merritt, that’s what leadership looks like,” he said. “Frank Grippe, that’s what leadership looks like.”
Greca also thanked the Ollis family for their sacrifice and service as Gold Star parents.
“I will tell you that you are truly the heroes here today,” Greca said. “Mike and his sacrifice – that can never, ever be replaced. You are forever in my thoughts and forever in my prayers, because, frankly, this division has been built upon and continues to be sustained by individuals like your son.”
Robert Ollis accepted the Hall of Fame medallion and certificate on behalf of his son.
“Michael always wanted to be a Soldier,” Ollis said. “Michael, about a month before he died, re-enlisted for six more years. His words to me when he called me was that he would stay as long as he was healthy. And if he could stay with the 10th Mountain that would even be better. So there must be something in the water or in the great leadership from the 10th Mountain.”
Ollis also said that the close friendships his son made in the 10th Mountain Division meant a lot to him.
“The 10th Mountain really, really was his home,” he said.