Two Soldiers Share Army Story With American Public
Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England (left) greets a group of servicemembers participating in the "Why We Serve" public outreach program in his Pentagon office March 30. Staff Sgt. Matthew Olson, Fort Jackson, S.C., (third from right) and Capt. Jessica L. Murphy, Fort Drum, N.Y., are representing the Army.

WASHINGTON (Army News Service, April 12, 2007) - Two Soldiers have been selected to tell the Army's story to the American public through the Defense Department's "Why We Serve" public outreach program.

Capt. Jessica L. Murphy from Fort Drum, N.Y., and Staff Sgt. Matt Olson from Fort Jackson, S.C., will travel to communities across the nation to tell their personal stories of military service.

"I've done things that others don't normally get to do," Capt. Murphy said, as she listed her experiences in meeting the secretary of defense, working on military assignments associated with presidential visits and touring the White House.

"I've been able to do so many things in six short years," Capt. Murphy said. "It's awesome, and I love it!"

Capt. Murphy said that her most fulfilling assignment has been serving as a platoon leader in the 300th Military Police Company at Fort Riley, Kan.

"Honestly, there is no better job on this earth," the captain said.

Within a few months of her arrival at the unit at the end of 2002, the 300th MP Company deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Capt. Murphy served as a platoon leader for seven months before moving up to become the company's executive officer for the remainder of the year-long combat tour.

Staff Sgt. Olson has deployed to Iraq twice, most recently to Qayyarah, where he managed maintenance of his unit's vehicles. His crew of Soldiers supported more than 2,200 convoys and found more than 300 faults that could have caused the vehicles to break down during convoys.

While he thinks news outlets focus on the "sensational" side of events in Iraq and Afghanistan, Staff Sgt. Olson said, "I'm kind of hoping to get the whole story out there, the good news stuff."

Staff Sgt. Olson recalled participating in humanitarian missions to provide supplies for Iraqi school children.

"Seeing those children's faces was rewarding," said the wheeled-vehicle mechanic.

The "Why We Serve" program began last fall. Eight servicemembers - two from each service - are selected to participate. Speaking engagements range from veterans organizations to grade schools to business groups.

(This story is compiled from releases by Ms. Carmen L. Gleason and Mr. Gerry J. Gilmore of the American Forces Press Service and Ms. Nicole Riley with the Fort Jackson "Leader.")

Page last updated Thu April 12th, 2007 at 13:28