Local Decorated Iraq War Veteran Reacts To Escalating Violence In Iraq

By Andy Mehalshick

Published 06/17 2014 06:45PM

Updated 06/17 2014 09:07PM

Conyngham, Luzerne County-Retired Army Staff Sergeant Erik Olson was awarded two Purple Hearts and the Bronze Star for Valor during three tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. He says watching the Al Qaeda connected group ISIS wreak havoc in Iraq has him very angry. Olson said, "It is like a kick in the gut. When I think of the sacrifices made by some 5,000 soldiers--they made the ultimate sacrifice for the Iraqi people--I get very angry." Olson was nearly killed several times in both Iraq and Afghanistan and says the United States cannot sit back and do nothing. Olson said, "I'm not a General but I know we can't allow ISIS to do this."  Olson retired in April and now operates a program called Warriors Summit Outdoors in connection with Television Station WYLN in Hazleton that helps veterans return to civilian life.

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