VETERAN SPOTLIGHT: Nolen has served in Marines, now GSP

Published 4:28 pm Monday, May 29, 2023

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For Sergeant Michael Nolen, Memorial Day is not just a day for relaxation but a day of remembrance.

“My family lineage is military, but more specifically, Marine Corps. My dad, Michael D. Nolen was in the Marine Corps during Operation Desert Storm, and my grandfather, Randy Dollar served in Vietnam, where he received two Purple Hearts,” Nolen said. “They served as an inspiration to begin my own journey with the Marine Corps.”

Following in the footsteps of those who came before him, Nolen officially enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in 2009 until he was honorably discharged in December 2013.

During his time in the Marines, Nolen served with the Second Radio Battalion in Camp LeJeune, served in multiple combat tours during Operation Enduring Freedom and assisted with the humanitarian aid for the Syrian refugee extraction in 2013.

Nolen was the speaker for American Legion Post 75’s Memorial Day ceremony, in honor of his grandfather.

He said since he was a child celebrating the lives of those lost on Memorial Day has been an important tradition.

“My grandfather always instilled in me that Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and all those traditions are important to carry on. Even though, this was the first time I’ve been blessed to be the speaker here. I’ve been to one of the services ever since I was probably six years old,” Nolen said.

“I would always assist him throughout the years with his many endeavors from the American Legion to the VFW to the Disabled Veterans of America and the Marine Corps League. I was always brought up to continue carrying on these traditions and pay respect to those that sacrificed both before me, as well as those that continue to sacrifice after me.”

Upon being discharged in 2013, Nolen became a Georgia State Trooper and currently works in the Nighthawks DUI Task Force.

As a Trooper, Nolen said some of the values he learned as a Marine plays a big part in his job.

“The same qualities the Marine Corps gave me — honor, courage, and commitment, as well as a selfless dedication to the individuals around me, is where I fall,” Nolen said. “I enjoy what it is that I do every day. Although I couldn’t remain to finish out my entire career in the Marine Corps, I am able to continue getting that same sense of pride by serving with the State Patrol.”