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Archive for September, 2012

Rocky Olson was a highly decorated Army Infantry soldier who served valiantly during the Vietnam War.  His account of military service in Vietnam, as related in his book SGT. ROCK:  Last Warrior Standing, is an incredible story of courage and bravery.

Sgt Rocky Olson
(Courtesy Rocky Olson – SGT. ROCK: LAST WARRIOR STANDING)

As was the case with most young adults of his generation, Rocky honorably accepted his military call of duty with some trepidation, knowing full well the dangers that faced those who served on the battle field.  What transpired after a brief period of training is the subject of Rocky’s amazing book.  What’s missing from that published account is the rest of this man’s remarkable story, and his special relationship with our beloved George Samuel Reid.

Rocky has graciously agreed to allow the most sacred and previously unpublished portion of his story to be documented here.  As you read Rocky’s personal account of what transpired days before he left for battle, you will understand why “the rest of his story” is related in his own words below:

My name is Rocky Olson. Hopefully you have already read some of the miraculous priesthood blessings and administrations George Reid gave to family members and others he was called to serve. While I know of others not listed on this site, I do want to include one of my own encounters with him.  I personally consider George as close to God’s ideal creation as is possible for us mere mortals in terms of his faith and spiritual gifts.
 
After my Basic and Advanced Infantry training in 1968, I came home for a two week leave prior to a military tour in Vietnam. My Orders said I was going to be an Army infantry soldier in that war torn country.  My last Sunday home before going to war the Bishop (Sherman Wayment – Sunset, Utah, 5th Ward) asked me if I would bear my testimony in Sacrament meeting. He did this as he met me and shook my hand at the door of the Chapel. I had lived in that Ward ever since I was a little boy, I knew everyone there.  I had stood at that pulpit many times including as a home-coming missionary just a year earlier. I would be happy to bear my testimony I told him. At the meeting I guess it was quite evident that the ward members feared for my future and that my parents were quite concerned about my safety. It was a particularly bad time in the war zone; hundreds of U.S. soldiers were being killed every week, sometimes that many in a day.
 

Patriarch George Samuel Reid – Sunset Utah Stake

After having born my testimony I returned to my cushioned seat on the stand. Without prior invitation, or warning, the Stake Patriarch (George Reid), who happened to be visiting our ward that day and was seated at the back of the chapel, arose from his seat. He walked up the aisle and presented himself at the microphone I had just vacated. The Bishop stayed seated, we all gave deference to the Patriarch when he wanted to speak. He placed a hand on each side of the pulpit and just stood there looking into the eyes of the congregation for a short while. Something dramatic was about to happen, you could have heard a pin drop. Slowly, he raised his right arm to the square and said, “In the name of Jesus Christ and by the power of the Holy Melchizedek Priesthood, I command this young soldier to return home to us, alive and untouched, to be able to fulfill his calling in life, so long as he keeps the commandments.” He then stepped away from the pulpit and returned to his seat.
 
I remember him standing at the pulpit speaking as though he were a spokesman for a host of angels. The spirit of the Lord was so evident that I will never forget it. There was not a dry eye in the congregation. George Reid had just commanded something that no man, no army, not even Satan himself could change, and everybody in the room knew it.
 
I left for Vietnam the next day with that Patriarchal Blessing, given to me in front of my entire ward, in my back pocket, so to speak.
 
I have written a book full of my Vietnam experiences, detailing the many times I could have, and should have, been killed. The book was written for the general public, not specifically for the LDS market. If you have read SGT. ROCK: LAST WARRIOR STANDING you now understand the unwritten story behind the book.
 
If not for that very special blessing…
 
Sergeant Rocky Olson
P.S. One of my boys carries “Reid” for his middle name.

It should come as no surprise to the Reid family that George Reid had the faith to use his Priesthood in such a remarkable way.  As a Patriarch, George had been given the gift of prophecy, and he was fearless and bold at the appropriate times in his use of that gift.  Never was the gift abused or aggrandized, and never was it thrust upon the disbelieving. He carried that special mantle with the reverence and dignity that it deserved.

As a postlude to this story, I humbly add my witness to what you have read.  I was among those seated in the chapel that day as Rocky bore his testimony and as my grandfather, George Reid, rose and promised that Rocky would return safely.  Those prophetic words pierced my soul, and left an indelible impression on a then 13 year-old young man.  Frankly, I worried that Grandpa might have been caught up in the emotion of the meeting, and felt compelled to stand and say something of comfort and hope.  Whatever doubts I had about the power a righteous servant of God could command were forever set aside when Rocky did indeed return home from his tour of service “alive and untouched”.

Not long after his safe return home from duty, Rocky accepted the assignment to escort a group of 15-17 year-old scouts on an over-nighter.  I was one of those young men, and if I remember right, we kept Rocky up all night relating story after story of his miraculous experiences in Vietnam.  Since then, I have followed Rocky’s journey through life with keen interest.  His story is now the subject of a well-written book, but more important to me is the rest of his story – an indisputable and profound testimony of what happens when faith, Priesthood power, and obedience to God intersect to bless the lives of the faithful.

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