42nd SFS member wounded in Afghanistan
Staff Sgt. Brent Olson and his military working dog, Blek, share a few quiet moments at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany. Blek caught up with Sergeant Olson at the hospital before going on to Dover Air Force Base, Del. Sergeant Olson was en route to Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas. The pair was injured by an improvised explosive device last month while on patrol in Afghanistan. (Courtesy photo)
by Carl Bergquist
Air University Public Affairs
10/8/2010 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- Staff Sgt. Brent Olson, 42nd Security Forces Squadron dog handler, is receiving treatment at Brooke Army Medical Center, San Antonio, Texas, for wounds he sustained in Afghanistan last month.
Sergeant Olson, and his military working dog, Blek, were injured when an improvised explosive device detonated near them while on patrol.
Before leaving Afghanistan, the sergeant was awarded the Purple Heart for his actions in combat.
During a telephone interview from his room at the medical center, the sergeant said he is doing well.
"I'm good and surviving. They are taking good care of me," Sergeant Olson said. "I'm thankful to be alive and have all my limbs."
The sergeant said he was walking about seven feet behind a member of the Afghan army when the IED exploded. The Afghan army troop was killed, and he was knocked to the ground.
"I heard a huge boom and felt a concussion. When I tried to open my eye, at first I couldn't see because of the dust in them, but I was able to clear them. I could hear Blek crying, so I got to him to calm him down," Sergeant Olson said.
He said as he was attending to Blek and began to feel numb. He put his hand under his armpit and it was covered in blood. The sergeant called for medics, and while they were working on him, a second IED exploded near them. Additional troops were called in for support, and before the incident was over, three more IEDs detonated in the area.
"I was very lucky and my (flak) vest saved my life," Sergeant Olson said. "I will be (at Brooke Army Medical Center) about a month and then, depending on everything, will come back to Maxwell."
The sergeant said he would like to get a little leave time in, but other than that, he is ready to get back to work.
"I can't wait to get back, pick up a leash and get right back to it," he said.
Sergeant Olson said he joined the Air Force "right out of high school" and wanted to be a dog handler from the beginning. He joined security forces and worked regular SFS duties for about four years and was able to become a dog handler about two years ago.
Sergeant Olson said his family was taking the news of him being injured "very well." He said several members of his family have military backgrounds, so they understand the risks associated with military service.
Lt. Col. Resti Andin, commander of the 42nd Security Forces Squadron, said Sergeant Olson has been an inspiration to the squadron, and a reminder to all about how important the security force's mission is.
"We've deployed 30 defenders since finding out about Sergeant Olson and it was a clear reminder to all of them we're still at war," Colonel Andin said. "But Brent was also a source of inspiration because his attitude throughout this ordeal has been remarkably upbeat. It's a testament to the human spirit and a clear reminder to me how blessed we are to serve with some of the finest Americans our nation has to offer."