John Theodore Oliver, Sr. – Command Sergeant, United States Army

From a contemporary press report:

Retired Command Sergeant Major of the Army John T. Oliver Sr. of Evans City, Pennsylvania, formerly of Hampstead, New Hampshire, died July 30, 2002. He was 69.

Oliver graduated as salutatorian from Riverside Military Academy, Gainesville, Georgia, with a bachelor of science degree in English. He earned a master of education degree in curriculum and instruction from Northeastern University, Boston.

He entered the Army from the Army Reserve in June 1950 and served during the Korean War and in French Indochina, Germany, Okinawa, Hawaii, the Dominican Republic. He served three tours in Vietnam and in 10 expeditionary conflicts.

His eight years of combat assignments included Ranger and Scout Platoon Sergeant during the Korean War and in the Dominican Republic; assault helicopter door-gunner; Platoon Sergeant; Rifle Company First Sergeant; Airborne Infantry Battalion Sergeant Major; Air Assault Battalion Sergeant Major; field adviser to the Vietnamese, Cambodian, Thailand and Laotian special forces; and adviser to the Vietnamese airborne and ranger high command during the Vietnam War.

He was an expert in counter-terrorism, combat intelligence and special operations, a former prison of war and a disabled veteran.

He retired from active service in September 1980 after 30 years of service.

Oliver was awarded more than 180 awards and decorations, which include the Defense Superior Service Medal, three Silver Stars, two Legion of Merit awards, two Distinguished Flying Cross awards, the Soldiers Medal, eight Bronze Star Medals with V devices, five Purple Hearts, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, three Meritorious Service Medals, 36 Air Medals with V devices, the Defense Commendation Medal with V device, six Army Commendation Medals with V devices; the Joint Service Commendation Medal with V device, the Prisoner of War Medal, 11 Good Conduct Medals, three Reserve Component Achievement Medals, the Army of Occupation Medal, three National Defense Service Medals, the Korean Service Medal with two arrowheads and four campaign stars, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal with one arrowhead and 10 campaign stars, the Vietnam Service Medal with one arrowhead and 15 campaign stars, the Armed Forces Reserve Medal, the United Nations Service Medal (Korea), four United Nations Medals (Europe, Africa, Middle East and Far East), the Vietnamese Campaign medal with 1960 device, the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal with 1960 device, the French Croix de Guerre, the Vietnamese General Staff Service Medal (Airborne Ranger), four Vietnamese Crosses of Gallantry with gold palm, the Vietnamese Honor Medal, the Vietnamese Air Cross of Gallantry with palm, the Vietnamese Civil Actions Medal and three Vietnamese Combat Wound Medals.

Oliver’s professional affiliations included the Sons of the American Revolution, the Military Order of the Purple Heart, the Disabled American Veterans, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion, the Uniformed Services Disabled Retirees Association, the National Ranger Association, the Special Forces Association, the First Ranger Battalion Association, the French Foreign Legion Para Association, the 82nd Airborne Division Association, the 1st Air Cavalry Division Association, the 24th Infantry Division Association, the 25th Infantry Division Association, the United States Army Aviation Association, The 187th Regiment Combat Team (Airborne) Association, the National Society of Pershing Rifles, the National Society of Scabbard and Blade, the National Kiwanis Key Club, the National Honor Society, Sigma Epsilon Rho honor society, the Alumni Association of Riverside Military Academy, the Alumni Association of Northeastern University, the National Council on World Affairs, the National Humanities Faculty and the National School Recognition Review Panel U.S. Department of Education.

Oliver is survived by his wife of 48 years, Julie Yunsun Lee; two sons, retired Major John T. of Atlanta, Georgia, and Daniel J. of Boston; two daughters, Dorothy Mae of Tucson, Arizona, and retired Lieutenant Colonel Susan of Evans City, Pennsylvania; 10 grandchildren; and one great-grandson.

Burial was in Arlington National Cemetery.




  • VETERAN SERVICE DATES: 06/27/1951 – 09/24/1976
  • DATE OF BIRTH: 09/27/1932
  • DATE OF DEATH: 07/30/2002
  • DATE OF INTERMENT: 09/03/2002

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