We’ve lost another hero this week…
Brigadier General Robin Olds, United States Air Force, retired, passed away peacefully, Thursday evening, June 14th, 2007 from congestive heart failure, one month short of his 85th birthday. He was born in Honolulu on July 14, 1922, the son of Major General Robert and Eloise Olds.
Robin spent his younger years and schooling in Hampton, Virginia and attended West Point, where he was an All American tackle and graduated in 1943 as a 2nd Lieutenant. Following
graduation from Pilot Training in 1943, General Olds was assigned to the European Theater at the end of WWII where he flew 107 combat missions in the P-38 Lightning and P-51 Mustang.
He shot down 13, enemy aircraft over Europe. He became a Triple Ace 23 years later during the Viet NamConflict when he downed 4 MIGS. He flew 152 combat missions in the F-4
Phantom while Wing Commander of the 8th Tactical Fighter Wing at Ubon AFB in Thailand.
General Olds’ exploits as the creator and Mission Commander of Operation Bolo, the most successful aerial battle of the Vietnam conflict, has been documented in the recent History Channel Dogfights Special series, entitled “Air Ambush”.
General Robin Olds served his country in assignments to England, Germany, Thailand and the United States, in positions of Squadron, Base, Group, and Wing Commander with assignments to Headquarters US Air Force and the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
He was assigned to the first jet P-80 squadron in 1946; was a member of the first jet Aerial Acrobatic Demonstration Team, won second place in the Thompson Trophy Race, jet Division, in Cleveland, 1946, and participated in the first dawn to dusk transcontinental round trip flight. He was a Squadron commander of Royal Air Force Fighter Squadron # 1 in Sussex during an exchange tour in 1948.
General Olds’ military decorations include the Air Force Cross, Distinguished Service Medal,
Silver Star with three Oak Leaf Clusters, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross with 5 oak leaf clusters, Air Medal with 39 Oak Leaf Clusters, British Distinguished Flying Cross, French Croix de Guerre, Vietnam Air Force Distinguished Service Order, Vietnam Air Gallantry Medal with Gold Wings, Vietnam Air Service Medal.
After his duty in Vietnam, General Olds was named Commandant of Cadets at the U.S. Air Force Academy 1967-1971. His last assignment before retiring from the Air Force was Director of Safety for the U.S. Air Force.
Up to a few months prior to his illness, Robin was frequently called upon as guest speaker and lecturer for his inspirational and motivational talks and he traveled all over the world speaking to military and civilian groups alike. General Olds was previously married to Ella Raines, who
died in 1988, and then to Morgan Olds.
General Olds is survived by two daughters, Christina Olds of Vail, CO and Susan Scott-Risner of North Bend, WA; one granddaughter, Jennifer Newman of Santa Monica, CA. and half-brother, Fred Olds of Virginia. He died peacefully at his home in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, in the company of family and friends.
A memorial service will be held at the U.S. Air Force Academy within the next two weeks. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Red River Valley Fighter Pilots Association towards scholarships for the children, or to assist the spouses, of Armed Forces aircrew members killed or missing in action.
Robin’s family has asked for any re-communication of this detail, to include the family’s request for privacy at this time. I will keep you all informed as to final arrangements when formalized.
Godspeed to a more than fine leader.