Major General Thomas Richard Olsen

3 entries
  • "Denny and I send our condolences to the entire Olsen..."
    - Mitchell
  • "Jackie, we are so sorry for your loss. He was loved by many"
    - Steve and Teresa Dillard
  • "My heartfelt condolences to the family and friends during..."
    - kb
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Major General Thomas Richard Olsen,Sr., USAF, Retired SUMTER, SC - Major General Thomas Richard Olsen, Sr., USAF, Retired, husband of Jacquelyn "Jackie" Keels Olsen, died Sunday, January 5, 2014, at Providence Hospital in Columbia. He was born on June 28, 1934 to the late Oscar and Catherine Olsen. A native of Houston, Texas, General Olsen earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from Texas A&M University in 1956, and a Master of Science degree in International Relations from George Washington University in 1968. He received his commission through the Air Force ROTC program, entered active duty in January, 1957, and completed pilot training April, 1958. As a Command Pilot with more than 4,400 flying hours, he flew the A-10, F-4, F-86, F-100, F-102, and F-111. General Olsen served in assignments throughout the U.S. and around the world, including Germany, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, The Netherlands, and the Persian Gulf. During his 35 years of active duty in the United States Air Force, he served as the Vice Commander, Headquarters Ninth Air Force, and Deputy Commander, U.S. Central Command Air Forces, Shaw Air Force Base. In Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, he served as the second in command for all U.S. and Allied Air Forces that destroyed Iraqi forces that had occupied Kuwait. His military decorations and awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal with 15 Oak Leaf Clusters and Air Force Commendation Medal with Oak leaf Cluster. After his retirement from the USAF in November, 1991, Olsen was the Executive Director of the Sumter Base Defense Committee for 17 years where he was instrumental in retaining Shaw Air Force Base in the Sumter community. General Olsen served as a Deacon and Sunday School teacher at Grace Baptist Church, 5th District Representative to South Carolina Research Authority (SCRA), member of the SC Military Task Force and Governor's Military Base Advisory Committee, member of the Selection Committee for the 5th District Service Academy Candidates under Senator Jim DeMint, member and Past-President of the USC-Sumter Partnership Educational Foundation, and Past Vice-Chairman of the South Carolina Commission for Higher Education (5th District Representative). He was the founding Chairman of The Tuomey Foundation Board of Governors, a member of the Sumter Greater Chamber of Commerce Military Affairs Committee and the Sumter Education Committee, member of the Sumter Rotary Club, and member and Past-President of the Sumter Kiwanis Club. Olsen received the Order of the Palmetto from the Governor of South Carolina, Mayor's Community Service Award, and the Outstanding Achievement Award from the Greater Sumter Chamber of Commerce. He was also inducted into The National Aviation and Space Exploration Wall of Fame at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Udvar-Hazy Center and recently received the Palmetto Patriot Award by The Blue Star Mothers of America. Surviving are his wife, Jackie; four children, Lt. Col. (Ret.) Richard Olsen, USAF (Mary Helen), Lisa Olsen Wesolick (Stephen), Mary Martin Geddings, and Mason Geddings; seven grandchildren, Charlie Olsen, Katie Olsen, Joey Olsen (Kendra), Max, Mark, and Eric Wesolick, Daniel Geddings; two great-grandchildren; and a sister, Kay Murff (Bill). Funeral services will be held at 2:00 P.M. Friday at Grace Baptist Church with Dr. Steve Williams and Bobby Richardson officiating. Burial with full military honors will follow at the Sumter Cemetery. Pallbearers will be Jeff Faw, Jay Cox, Vernon Geddings, Dan Lyles, Talmadge Tobias, Daly Ward, Craig Justice, Johnny Alford, Gregg Martin, and Hugh Cameron. Honorary pallbearers will be members of the Tuomey Foundation Board of Governors, members of the Sumter Kiwanis Club, and the ROMEOs Breakfast Club. The family will receive friends from 12 noon to 2 P.M. Friday in the Fellowship Hall of Grace Baptist Church and other times at the home. Memorials may be made to Grace Baptist Church, 219 W. Calhoun Street, Sumter, SC 29150 or to the Tuomey Foundation, 102 N. Main Street, Sumter, SC 29150. Online condolences may be sent to Elmore Hill McCreight Funeral Home & Crematory, 221 Broad Street, Sumter, is in charge of the arrangements (803) 775-9386. Visit our guestbook at charleston

Funeral Home
Elmore-Hill-McCreight Funeral Home
221 Broad Street
Sumter, SC 29150
(803) 775-9386
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Published in Charleston Post & Courier on Jan. 8, 2014
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