Army Aviator Badge(Wings) awarded Feb 26,1960 Ft Rucker Alabama, along with his brother Dick Olsen.
Don was assigned to 33rd Transportation Company (Lt Hel) (H21) Ft Ord CA, while Dick was assigned to 57th Transportation Company (Lt Hel) (H21) Ft. Lewis, WA. Dick was later reassigned to 33rd with Don in 1961.
The 33rd departed from Ft. Ord, CA for Vietnam in September 1962 to Bien Hoa Air Base. The 33rd was assigned to the 45th Transportation Battalion in Saigon, under Gen Stilwell's Support Command, which provided Aviation support to the Vietnamese Armed Forces. In September 1963, Don was assigned to 11th AA Division (Test), after his first combat duty in Vietnam. This was the new Air Assault Division being tested in Ft. Benning, GA, for the developing insurgency in Southeast Asia, air mobilizing the entire Infantry Division. In July 1965, after the completion of successful trials, the 11th AAD was renamed the 1st Air Cavalry Division, and ordered for immediate deployment to combat operations in Vietnam. Don went in with an advanced party which preceded the rest of the division. The party helped clear wilderness for the huge helipad which became known as "The Golf Course," and the entire division home base in An Khe, Vietnam. Helicopters flown were the UH1D Hueys and OH-13 light observation helicopters.
Don participated in three major campaigns, the most decisive being the Pleiku (Ia Drang) campaign, in which the Division was awarded the Presidential Citation, and Meritorious Unit Citation and the Cross of Gallantry (Vietnamese Citation).