Honoring the Memory of Captain Norman H. Olson
March 14, 1931 – October 29, 2020
Captain (SEAL) Norman Hugo Olson, USN (Retired)
Norm received a BS Degree and Naval Reserve commission from the Merchant Marine Academy, and before Navy active duty he sailed as a Ships Officer in the Merchant Marine.
During 30 years in the Navy he served as the Engineer Officer on board three amphibious ships and held every key position in Naval Special Warfare.
His operational tours included Executive Officer of Underwater Demolition Team 21, Commanding Officer of UDT 11, Officer in Charge of Naval Operations Support Group Western Pacific, Head of the Maritime Operations Group of Special Operations Group Vietnam, and Commodore of Naval Special Warfare Group Two.
Other assignments included Operations and Plans Officer of Naval Operations Support Group Pacific, Chief Staff Officer of Naval Special Warfare Group Atlantic, Director of Special Warfare and Combatant Craft Programs on the Navy Staff, Assistant Chief of Staff for Operations and Plans of Naval Inshore Warfare Command Atlantic, Chief of Staff of Multi-National Suez Canal Clearance Task Force 61, Chief of the Special Operations Branch of the Rapid Deployment Joint Task Force, Chief of Staff of Joint Special Operations Command, Assistant Deputy Director for Operations of Readiness Command, and command of Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek (a major Naval Shore Establishment). He also founded and led the Navy Parachute Team – the Leap Frogs.
After Navy retirement, Norm became Director of Security at the Reagan-Bush ’84 Campaign Committee, Founding Director and Curator of the Navy UDT-SEAL Museum, and Director for Industrial Security of General Dynamics Electric Boat Division. He also held key management positions with three defense contracting firms and presided over his own consulting firm, Trident Associates.
Norm was a recipient of many prestigious honors, foremost being the Special Operations Command Medal “for a lifetime of outstanding contributions to NSW and Special Operations.” He was inducted into the SOCOM Commando Hall of Honor in 2011 in recognition of his “extraordinary and enduring” impact. He continued to serve NSW through the UDT-SEAL Association, UDT-SEAL Museum, and Navy SEAL Foundation. He wrote extensively, spoke at many forums throughout the country about NSW, contributed numerous articles to the BLAST and “Fire in the Hole” magazines, and wrote the book “Air Capabilities of the US Navy SEALs: A History of Innovation.”
His energy and drive were legendary. In 2011 at the age of 80 Norm completed his 4,000th freefall jump. He never slowed down.
Norm’s lasting impact on the UDT-SEAL Museum and NSW is immeasurable. His legacy continues with all who knew him and with his wife Bobbie and their family: Chris Mabe (Jeff), Craig Olson, Caren Whitson (Joe), and Carole Brennan (Vincent), and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.