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Veteran of the Week: Holleran celebrates birthday, looks back at career

It was a big day on Friday for military veteran Owen Holleran. Not only did he turn 88, but he also got word that his first grandchild was born in Virginia.

Holleran wasn’t planning to do anything special to celebrate his birthday, but the news of the newest family member brought a smile to his face.

“I just got word a little bit ago. On my birthday,” Holleran said with a grin.

In 88 years, Holleran has a lot to be proud of, including a military career that included serving in two wars.

Holleran was born in LaGrange, but spent time as a child in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Washington D.C. He attended high school in the nation’s capital and was accepted to the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York for college.

Holleran began college in 1948, just three years after World War II ended.

In 1950, the Korean War began as a surprise to many, including him.

“When I went in there, there was no wars going on,” he said. “Of course, we had just finished a big one, but there was no big prospect of war on the horizon. That business in Korea was a real shock to an awful lot of people. We were well trained, well-educated and everything we did was pointed toward a career army officer.”

After graduating college in 1952, Holleran served as an infantry officer in the U.S. Army. He served in both the Korean and Vietnam Wars before leaving the military as a captain in 1967.

“I had been in two wars and I did not enjoy getting shot at,” Holleran said.

He also had seen the difficulties of a military career on his family. His son, Michael, had already been to five different schools and there was a chance Holleran was about to be moved again.

Instead, he decided to leave the military, but he didn’t get too far from his army background. Holleran worked as a computer programmer as a civilian after leaving the military.

He and his wife Bobbie Anne moved back to LaGrange in the late 1980s.

The couple has Michael and a daughter named Anne and four grandkids.