He enlisted in the US Marine Corps on January 8, 1942, a mere month after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
Assigned to Carson's Marine Raiders, he deployed to the Pacific Theater.
During the August 17-18, 1942 raid on Makin Island, Private First Class Richard Norman Olbert, with nine other Marines were stranded on the island and captured by enemy forces.
Private First Class Richard Norman Olbert was executed on October 16, 1942. He was never recovered and is memorialized on the Roll of the Missing at Honolulu HI.
(Sergeant Richard Allard, Private John Irwin Kerns, Private Alden Curtis Mattison, and Corporal Joseph N. Gifford were other US Marines captured that day)
(Sergeant Dallas Henry Cook was also a casualty of the raid)