Lieutenant Colonel (LtCol) Olson is a native of Bodega Bay, California. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps Forces Reserve 1996 – 2001. He graduated from University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) with a Bachelor of Arts degree in German, specialization in Business Administration in 1998; Juris Doctor degree from American University, Washington College of Law in 2003; Master of Arts degree in International Affairs from American University, School of International Service in 2012; and Master of Laws degree (LL.M) in Military Justice from The Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School in 2013.
As a reservist, LtCol Olson served as an Air Delivery Specialist (parachute rigger) with 3d Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company 1996 – 1998 and Civil Affairs Specialist with 4th Civil Affairs Group 1998 – 2001. He was called to active duty and deployed to Bosnia and Herzegovina December 1999 – June 2000 in support of Operation Joint Forge, where he served on Team 1 of the Refugee Reconnaissance Return Team, Combined Military Task Force, NATO Peace Stabilization Force (SFOR).
LtCol Olson was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant through the Officer Candidates Course in 2001. After graduating law school and passing the District of Columbia bar exam, LtCol Olson reported to Company A, The Basic School in November 2004 and Naval Justice School in May 2005. LtCol Olson reported to MCAS Miramar in September 2005. His billets included Legal Assistance Attorney and Defense Counsel. He deployed to the Al Anbar province January to June 2008 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, where he served as Deputy Staff Judge Advocate, 3d Marine Aircraft Wing Forward.
In September 2008, LtCol Olson joined the staff at Officer Candidate School, MCB Quantico. He served as the Executive Officer, Headquarters and Service Battalion and Platoon Commander for three candidate training cycles.
In August 2010, LtCol Olson reported to the Office of the Military Commissions located in the National Capital Region. He was assigned to the Defense Legal Services Agency (DLSA) and served as Defense Counsel. The mission required monthly travel to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. LtCol Olson was assigned to the only case before the U.S. Court of Appeals at the time.
In 2012, LtCol Olson was board selected to attend resident Intermediate Level School at The Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School where he earned a LL.M in Military Justice. Upon graduation in May 2012, he reported to the Legal Services Support Section, MCB Quantico where he served as Senior Trial Counsel.
In August 2013, the Staff Judge Advocate to the Commandant of the Marine Corps selected LtCol Olson by name to serve as the first Deputy Officer-in-Charge of Victims’ Legal Counsel Organization (VLCO), a new legal organization within Headquarters Marine Corps. The Secretary of Defense directed each service to implement a victim legal advocacy program to provide legal advice to victims by November 2013.
In July 2015, LtCol Olson received orders and reported to Marine Corps Installations Pacific-MCB Camp Butler, Okinawa, Japan where he was assigned as Deputy Staff Judge Advocate, Marine Corps Installations Pacific. In November 2017 LtCol Olson reported to III Marine Expeditionary Force where he served as Civil Affairs Officer and Civil-Military Operations Planner supporting bilateral exercises across the Indo-Pacific, including Japan, Korea, and Philippines.
In July 2019, LtCol Olson reported to MCB Quantico to serve in his current billet as Regional Defense Counsel, National Capital Region. His personal decorations include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with two gold stars, the Joint Service Achievement Medal, and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.