• bloomfield
  • Essex
  • April 17, 1943
  • June 09, 1968
  • Army
  • RANK:
  • 1LT
  • KIA
  • South Vietnam


Joseph Oleson, Jr. was born on April 17, 1943, to John and Julia Oleson. His home of record is Bloomfield, NJ. He had one sister, Elizabeth. A 1961 graduate of Bloomfield High School, Joseph attended Stevens Institute of Technology and Fairleigh Dickinson University. He loved baseball and took accordion lessons for many years.

He entered the US Army on April 8, 1965, where he attained the rank of First Lieutenant (1LT/02) and served with the AUS-Infantry, Company D, 2nd Battalion, 18th Infantry Division.

On June 9, 1968, Oleson was serving as a platoon leader on a reconnaissance force operation in a densely wooded and swampy area near the village of Bing Nham. During heavy fighting, his radio-telephone operator was wounded. With complete disregard for his personal safety, Oleson rushed to the man's aid. It was at this time that he was mortally wounded.

Oleson earned the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, the Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal, the Vietnam Campaign Ribbon, the Combat Infantryman Badge, theExpert Badge with Machine Gun Bar, and the Sharpshooter Badge with a Rifle Gun.

Oleson's Bronze Star citation reads:
For heroism not involving participation in aerial flight, in connection with military operations against a hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam: On this date, Lieutenant Oleson was serving as a platoon leader on a reconnaissance in force operation in a densely jungled and swampy area near the village of Binh Nham. His platoon was the point element for the company, and just after being lifted into the jungle landing zone, as he led his men into the jungle, they began to receive hostile small arms and automatic weapons fire. Lieutenant Oleson unhesitatingly moved forward through the heavy enemy fire in order to effectively direct his men's return fire upon the insurgents. During the heavy fighting, his radio telephone operator became wounded. With complete disregard for his personal safety, Lieutenant Oleson immediately rushed to the wounded man's aid. It was at this time, as he was fighting bravely to save his comrade's life, that Lieutenant Oleson was mortally wounded by hostile fire. His exemplary courage, professional leadership, and great concern for the welfare of his men distinguish him as an officer of the highest caliber. First Lieutenant Oleson's outstanding display of aggressiveness, devotion to duty, and personal bravery is in keeping with the finest traditions of military service and reflects great credit upon himself, the 1st Infantry Division, and the United States Army.

Sources: Elizabeth Langan (sister) and NJVVMF.


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