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Yet Another Sad Chapter; This Time itís Polito ďPaulĒ Olivas

Someone contacted me after reading The Honolulu Star-Advertiser article by William Cole that was picked up by Starts and Stripes August 20, 2018.

Just by reading the article I knew something wasnít right.  The Army Documentation arrived today September 24, 2018.  Olivas didnít become a Paratrooper until the end of February 1945 at Ft. Benning and didnít get to Europe until April 24, 1945.  This means he wasnít in Normandy, Holland or the Bulge.  Olivas was assigned to Hq Co 2nd Bn 506th Prcht Inf 101st Abn Div at the end of May 1945.    

Below is the email sent to William Cole to warn him that Olivas was not what he appeared to be.  Cole didnít respond which says a lot right there.

Mr. Cole,

Someone sent me an email over the weekend that was in reference to Polito Olivas and yourself.

After piecing together those two emails and doing some basic research here is a response to your email to the unknown original email.

Attached are documents correcting a few errors.

For some reason you think the iconic photo taken in Ravenoville, France was taken on 6 June 1944.  In reality it was taken on 7 June 1944 in the morning.

Attached are two situation maps for 6 and 7 June 1944.  That iconic photo and video taken at the same time show that in the video version you can see 4th Infantry Division men.  The 4th Infantry was not in Ravenoville until 7 June as you can see in the two situation maps I've sent ahead to you.

I have also attached the names of 9 of the 10 men in that picture for your own reference. 

Attached to this email is a newspaper interview done about Mr. Olivas in 1974.  He mentions he was a Cook for 30 years in the Army.

Has Major Kevin Boyd, the Public Affairs Officer for Special Operations Command Pacific at Camp H.M. Smith produced any records showing where Olivas was during his time in the Army?  A request has been made to the Army for his records.  If Mr. Olivia himself wants to he can request all of his own records.  I have attached the form needed for a veteran to request their own records.

The request made will show where Olivas was during his 30 years in the Army.  Attached are examples of what records will look like when Mr. Olivas records arrive.

The next issue is this; in the 1920 Census he isnít listed but his parents are.  Then in the 1930 Census he is listed as being 9 born in 1921, not 1918 as listed on his enlistment record.  Then in the 1940 Census he is listed as 19 not 22.

All he needs to go is to produce his Birth Certificate to show that he is 100 years old.  That issue happened all the time back in the day.

Now onto the Facebook page from Special Operations Command Pacific.  I donít know who wrote that article but there are many mistakes.  The terms ďRed CurraheeĒ and ďAir AssaultĒ didnít exist until Vietnam. 

Please forward this ahead to Major Kevin Boyd, the Public Affairs Officer for Special Operations Command Pacific at Camp H.M. Smith.  It will be interesting to see the records used for Mr. Olivas article.

I sent quite a few documents to Cole showing that Olivas wasnít one of the 10 Soldiers in the picture.  I also sent maps for both June 6 and 7 1944 disproving Olivas claim that he was in that iconic photo.

Now the key Olivas records have arrived.  Itís a shame that neither Cole nor Major Boyd reached out to St. Louis for those records before putting out the article.

Olivas was a cook in the Army from 1940 to 1970 as he said when interviewed in 1974 and his records prove that out.  Olivas started saying he jumped into Normandy and Holland and was in Bastogne in a 1983 article in the February 16, 1983 Honolulu Advertiser.    The only problem with that was he wasnít there. 

The key records are part of the article and can be downloaded.  There are so many holes in his story itís hard to pick the most outrageous one.  For me itís that Olivas lied saying he was in Normandy and that he claimed to have been in the iconic 502nd Prcht Inf picture taken June 7, 1944.

The bottom line is Olivas was a cook for his entire Army career.  He was in some very famous units but only as a cook nothing more.  Olivas went to three schools during his time in the Army.  The first was Cooks and Bakers 12 weeks, 4 weeks to become a Paratrooper in January and February of 1945 and Mess Steward in 1947.  Thatís it, no Special Forces training.  He just cooked for all of the units he was assigned to.


Brian N. Siddall

September 24, 2018                  


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