The Mustachioed Hero Shares the Keys to His Abundant Success.
Brigadier General Robin Olds served his country in the Air Force for thirty years. A football player at West Point, he flew Lockheed P-38 Lightnings and then North American P-51 Mustangs in the European Theater of Operations (ETO) during World War II. Olds was credited with a total of 12 aerial victories and another 11.5 enemy aircraft destroyed on the ground. After returning to the United States at war’s end as a 22 year old Major in command of his squadron, he was instrumental in the creation of the first jet aircraft demonstration team. He was then assigned to the fledgling Air Defense Command (ADC). He married movie star Ella Raines in 1947. As a result of his ADC assignment Olds did not make it to the Korean War. During the 1950s and early 1960s Olds was assigned to duty in places like Wheelus Air Force Base (AFB) in Libya, RAF Bentwaters in the UK, and Landstuhl AFB in Germany. Then…Vietnam.
Becoming the Dynamic Duo
Olds was perhaps most famous for his exploits as 8th Tactical Fighter Wing (TFW) Wing Commander in Vietnam. When Olds took over command of the 8th TFW, based at Ubon Royal Thai Air Force Base (RTAFB) in Thailand, he brought in fellow Air Force legend “Chappie” James to be his deputy commander for operations. As a result the 8th TFW became one of the most successful Air Force units to fly combat missions in Southeast Asia.
The Man Tells His Own Story…With a Laugh or Two Along the Way
Olds flew a total of 259 combat missions (107 during World War II and 152 in Southeast Asia. Later in his career he was Commandant of the Air Force Academy and Inspector General of the Air Force. He retired from the Air Force on June 1st 1973. In the videos below, shot during an hour-long Air Force Association event in 1998, Olds shared memories of his career with his trademark humorous delivery. Enjoy all three parts of the discussion linked below. You Avgeek bookworms will undoubtedly enjoy his book Fighter Pilot, written with his daughter Christina. The General passed away at the age of 84 in 2007.