Robert Ollis and Kimberly Loschiavo, father and sister of Staff Sgt. Michael Ollis, receive the Distinguished Service Cross on his behalf from General James C. McConville, vice chief of staff of the Army, June 8, 2019, at the Staff Sgt. Michael Ollis VFW Post on Staten Island, New York. At right, Ollis greets Karol Cierpica, the Polish army lieutenant for whom Staff Sgt. Michael Ollis gave his life. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Jerod Hathaway)
Staff Sgt. Michael Ollis posthumously receives Distinguished Service Cross for saving another's life
Sgt. Jerod Hathaway
27th Public Affairs Detachment
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. (June 8, 2019) – Staff Sgt. Michael Ollis, a 10th Mountain Division (LI) Soldier who gave his life shielding Polish Army Lt. Karol Cierpica from a suicide bomber while deployed to Afghanistan in 2013, was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Cross by Vice Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. James McConville during a ceremony June 8 on Staten Island, New York.
The Distinguished Service Cross is the second-highest military honor that can be awarded to a member of the United States Army.
"Every generation has its heroes," McConville said during his remarks. "Michael Ollis is one of ours."
Ollis's father and sister, Robert Ollis and Kimberly Loschiavo, received the award from McConville at a VFW post named in Ollis's honor.
"Through the tears, we have to tell the story of Karol and Michael," Robert Ollis said during the ceremony. "They just locked arms and followed each other. They didn't worry about what language or what color it was. It was two battle buddies, and that's what Karol and Michael did, to help everyone on that FOB (forward operating base) they possibly could."
The Distinguished Service Cross ceremony, held in a small yard just outside the post, was packed with veterans, friends and Family Members who all came to honor him.
"I was privileged to serve with Michael and Karol when I was the 101st Airborne Division commanding general in Regional Command East while they were deployed," McConville said. "Their actions that day in August against a very determined enemy saved many, many lives."
To close out the weekend, a 5K run was held in Ollis’s memory.