TORUN, Poland – U.S. Army soldiers supporting U.S. Army Garrison – Poland and V Corps joined Polish army cadets in leadership development at their secondary school, Jan. 31, 2024.
During the visit, they held a ceremony dedicating a plaque to honor war hero, U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Michael H. Olllis.
“Being invited to this ceremony is important,” said U.S. Army Maj. James Porch, civil liaison team leader for Poland and assigned to U.S. Army Reserve unit 308th Civil Affairs Brigade. “Of foremost importance is commemorating the service and sacrifices of Staff Sgt. Michael H. Olllis. Staff Sgt. Olllis demonstrated the core of what it means to be a soldier not only in the United States Army but in any nation, and that is, in my opinion, selfless service.”
Ollis, a 24-year-old U.S. Army soldier with the 2nd Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light) during Operation Enduring Freedom, is honored as a hero throughout Poland. On August 28, 2013, Ollis’ last day of duty, he sacrificed his life during action by shielding Lt. Karol Cierpika, a Polish Army officer, from a suicide bomber throughout an insurgent assault on a forward operating base in Ghazni, Afghanistan.
Porch, Staff Sgt. Allen Ruffles, a civil affairs NCO assigned to 308th Civil Affairs Brigade, and Spc. Marcus Thomas, a law enforcement specialist assigned to the Louisiana National Guard 773rd Military Police Battalion, attended the ceremony.
After the ceremony, they spent time with the cadets, instructing U.S. Army combative moves based on Jiu-Jitsu.
“We’ve taken part in several training opportunities with the cadets,” Porch said.
USAG-Poland and V Corps emphasize interoperability with host nations. These excursions into the community build trust and nurture strong relationships with the citizens of Poland.
“We are strengthening the bond with the future leaders of the Polish Military,” Porch said. “There is no better way to strengthen our future between our allies than to work with cadets.”
“The training was fun,” said student and Polish army cadet Private 2nd Class Jacob Kuba. “I honestly have never seen Jiu-Jitsu.”
Kuba said he was familiar with mixed martial arts training but not Jiu-Jitsu.
“The instructors were very professional,” Kuba said. “They weren’t hasty with their instruction and were patient.”
Kuba said he is looking forward to the next training opportunity with the U.S. Army because they enhance the Polish army cadets’ capabilities.
“Instilling these traits in new generations strengthens not only the morals of these young cadets but also further strengthens the future of our militaries, the bond of our countries, and the patriotism that we both share,” Porch said.