Slain Fort Drum Soldier Loved The Army, Parents Say
The parents of a soldier from New York City who was killed by insurgents in Afghanistan say he decided recently to make a career in the Army after serving for seven years.
Robert Ollis tells the Staten Island Advance in a story published Sunday evening that Staff Sgt. Michael H. Ollis "loved the Army, and he loved what he was doing."
In a telephone interview with 7 News, his father said all Michael Ollis ever wanted to be was a soldier.
"At the age of 17, he came to us and asked if we would please sign for him and we said yes, without a hesitation, because I knew his love for the country and my love for this country," his father said. "I could not say no."
The lieutenant colonel that gave his parents the news couldn't go into depth because of an Army investigation, but called Michael a hero.
Robert Ollis said they were told his son "went to the battle and didn't go away from it, and his actions saved lives."
The father says that after his son became a squad leader, he told his parents he had to make sure the soldiers under him got home.
The 24 year old infantryman died Wednesday in Ghani Province. Insurgents attacked his unit, which was based at Fort Drum. He was with the 10th Mountain Division's 2nd Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team.
Besides his parents, Michael Ollis leaves behind two sisters and five nieces and nephews. His parents say he fell in love with the north country while at Fort Drum
They say he hoped one day to retire in Sackets after getting out of the army.
Friends and relatives have created a memorial of flowers, flags and mementos on a fence in Ollis' Staten Island neighborhood.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has ordered all flags at state-owned buildings to fly at half-staff on Wednesday in Ollis' honor.
Thursday, September 18, 2014, Watertown, NY