|Check out my re-purposed fire line pack after I
liberated it from the U.S. Forest Service and
pressed it into service in a new life on the line
between the United States of America and the
Republic of Mexico.
|Here I am posing with the Chief of the U.S. Forest
Service. Guess which one I am? I later sent the photo
back to the WO and ask Chief Petersen to autograph it
for me. And after I got it back from the WO Office of
Public Affairs...I kept it on my desk in a frame. Hahaha!
Official Jack Booted Thug, Goon, unidentified Secret Police and
Storm Trooper Photo taken while being extracted from a SpecOp
in a Black Helicopter without any identifying markings. And when
both the far right and far left agree on who and what you are...
that's a great time to double down!
Well...it looks blackish at night or in low light conditions, so...
Nahhh...I'm just messin' with you...again.
Almost everybody who is attracted to law enforcement and ends
up working successfully in that field is a sheepdog, and that
certainly included me. There are three kinds of people in this
world, there are the sheep, the wolves who prey on the sheep
and the sheepdogs who are naturally inclined to protect the
sheep from the wolves and themselves.
And you don't have to work in law enforcement or a related field
like FIRE to be a sheepdog. This world is full of sheepdogs who
don't work in either profession. You just have to care about
people, even those people who aren't like you. The two photos
below are visual reminders of the best day i ever had while
working in law enforcement.
We were on a counter drug operation in a military helicopter
working along the edges of the vast Navajo Reservation when a
woman waved her arms signaling for us to land. And although
she did not speak English...she wanted to tell us through her
teenage daughter about a nearby marijuana grow because she
didn't want any of her children to be exposed to drugs.
Anyway...the pilots were giving the entire family a tour of their
helicopter while they took photos of them sitting in the pilot
seats with a disposable camera they had with them that they
eventually left with the family when we left.
But the mother was apparently impressed with my physical
appearance and so she wanted a photo of me holding her two
youngest children and so she walked over to me and put both of
her young boys in my arms and motioned for me to hold them
while the pilots took photos of us for her. That's who and what I
am...a sheepdog. That and an Eagle Scout. I don't always do the
right thing...but I always try and I am profoundly disappointed in
myself when I fall short.
“In your darkest hour, when the demons come, call on me
brother, and we will fight them together.”
|Happy Jack IHC Crew Boss
Gary L. Olson, on the Murdock Basin Fire of 1980
on the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest.
|It wasn't the years;
it was the miles!
I think this might be the only photo of Happy Jack Hotshot Crew Boss Amos Coochyama in existence because
he never allowed his picture to be taken. Amos believed the camera would steal his soul, but I took a wide view
of the crew and enlarged this section. If Amos would have known I took his photo, he would have confiscated
my camera from me and burned it in a cleansing ceremony. Nahhh...I'm just messin' with you. Amos never said
why he didn't want his photo taken because he used words like a miser spends his own money...very sparingly.
And I'm pretty sure the U.S. Forest Service, which is a very straight laced and button downed organization must
not have thought Amos needed a sense of humor because they apparently never issued him one since I never
saw any evidence or even any indicators that he had one. And he ran a tight crew...a very tight crew. And the
reason I mention this is because as the founder and first crew boss, our crew took on his personality and I
ended up running the Happy Jack and later the Santa Fe Hotshots the same way, which was the same way
Denny ran our crew after Amos left. What the fuck are you anyway...my therapist?
|See the Happy Jack Hotshot
crew photo below...no Amos.
I always respected Amos as a
crew boss and we even
became "friendly" in later
years when we were both
Forest Dispatchers. But...I
always deferred to Amos in
group settings and meetings.
And when Amos spoke...I
listened up! Hahaha!
TRAINING MATTERS...A LOT!
And I never saw anyone
get killed although I came
close when the sawyers
dropped a big tree right on
top of me while cutting hot
line up a steep mountain
at night on the LP in SoCal
while fightin' the Indian
Fire of 1975, But...the trunk
missed me by this much!
|This was my bunk. Oh look...my
bunkmates were signaling to me that
they thought I was number one!
|Sr. Special Agent Gary L. Olson (Retired)
Happy Jack Hotshot FNG "Dopey Opie", 1975. Man...I was jazzed just to be there! The crew boss
thought I looked like Opie Taylor from Mayberry...so that's what he nicknamed me. But the
veterans on the crew had other names for me like, "Wide Load" or simply "FNG". "Famous
Amos" or just "Mo" was one mean Indian, but he ran a tight crew who always got the job
done...one way or the other! Hahaha!
|Yeah...I'm not sure what this was?
Well...the thing is, this wasn't even Una's bed, it was
her little sister's bed. But she was a really nasty little
Toy Fox Terrier, so Una liked get in her bed first.
|Una...best Jeeping buddy...ever.
WELCOME to my "I Love Me Page!" So what exactly is an "I Love Me Page?" Well...I don't know how widespread
this phenomenon is because I didn't have any experience working outside of the federal government in an office
setting except for working with various law enforcement agencies and departments. But within that
group, whenever a climber would achieve the distinction of having their very own office...with like a door and
everything, one of the first thing they would do is create an "I Love Me Wall." A wall that would display for all to
see, the artifacts of their careers and from their lives as it surrounded them like a suit of modern day armour.
And that was what was unofficially known as an, "I Love Me Wall." Law enforcement types like to display
trophies taken from foes they vanquished, which is something they have in common with serial killers.
I do know the same phenomenon exists in the corporate, academic and non-profit sectors in addition to just
about everywhere else where somebody has an office. The exact inventory of the artifacts on display on these
walls can vary widely depending on the personality and ego of whoever created it, but they usually have several
things in common. For example, "I Love Me Walls" usually host college, law school or medical school diplomas,
certificates of training, plaques, awards, photographs of the walls creator shaking hands with dignitaries, or
photographs from when they were in the military or members of other recognizable sub-cultures or
organizations. These wall also often have photographs of family, hobbies and pets, in addition to indicators of
their favorite hobbies or bitchin' vacations. Most "I Love Me Walls" begin their lives as starter "I Love Me
Cubicles." The Holy Grail of all photographs is one of the occupant of that particular office shaking hands with
the President Of The United States (POTUS). But...I have also seen some pretty sad "I Love Me Walls." I just
remember thinking, "Dude...why did you bother and how did you even get here?"
I came this close to having a Holy Grail when I was selected to be a departmental (Interior) representative on
President Bill Clinton's security detail one time. My partner was selected at the same time to serve in the same
capacity for Vice President Al Gore. At the end of the detail, Vice President Gore took the time to have a
photograph of him shaking hands with everyone who was with him during that event as a matter of Standard
Operating Procedure (SOP), so she got one with her shaking hands with the VPOTUS. POTUS didn't have that
same SOP, so I didn't get anything except for a lousy Certificate of Appreciation. It was however...suitable for
framing so it wasn't a total loss. But all "I Love Me Walls" serve the same purpose. They are visual markers
establishing the dominance of the occupant of that particular office and send the very same message to all who
see them, "This is Is My House...Don't Fuck With Me" And that is why one of the number one rules for an
investigator is never to interview anyone in their office if you can possibly avoid it, just you know...FYI.
I know male dogs and other animals do the same thing when they pee on things around them...it's called
marking their territory. Once I got my own office however...I decided to be a contrarian (surprise) and join the
counter culture by not putting up anything to display or keep any personal items, photographs, trophies of any
kind or any other artifact on my walls or anywhere else in my office for that matter. The message I was trying to
send is, "I'm so bad...I don't even need to show you how bad I am, you can tell it just by looking at me."
Plus...I didn't really have very many neat things or very much impressive stuff anyway (things and stuff are
synonyms for artifacts) and I didn't want anyone thinking, "Dude, why did you bother and how did you even get
here?" Things could have gone differently for me...I could have been a contender if I would have just scored
that photo of me shaking hands with POTUS. Bill Clinton must have been a real Richard Cranium...know what I
mean? Or maybe it was just because Clinton was already POTUS and that was an aspirational goal for Gore at
the time? I don't know?
|'Never get out of the Jeep...Never get out of the
Jeep...Never get out of the Jeep! (Apocalypse Now)
|Driving Towards The Big One!