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Legendary Fighter Pilot Robin Olds Dies at Age 84

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  • Legendary Fighter Pilot Robin Olds Dies at Age 84

    6/15/2007 - U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. (AFPN) -- Legendary fighter pilot, retired Brig. Gen. Robin Olds, died June 14 from congestive heart failure one month short of his 85th birthday.

    General Olds, rated a triple ace for having shot down a total of 16 enemy aircraft during World War II and the Vietnam War, served his country in assignments to England, Germany, Libya, Thailand and the United States, in positions of squadron, base, group and wing commander, and assignments to Headquarters U.S. Air Force and the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

    "Triple-ace Robin Olds' legendary leadership and heroic service to the cause of freedom have been an inspiration to our nation and our Air Force," said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. T. Michael Moseley. "He is one of our 'great captains' and a pioneer of air power.

    "He became an ace with 12 aerial victories during World War II, flying P-38 Lightnings and P-51 Mustangs, and later shot down 4 MiGs in Vietnam to bring his total to 16. He also led the 8th Tactical Fighter Wing -- the famed "Wolfpack" -- to a record 24 aerial victories, a total unsurpassed by any other wing during the war in Southeast Asia," the general said.

    "Throughout his career, he was a staunch advocate for better fighters, better pilot training and new tactics, culminating in the war-winning air-to-air tactics and doctrine of surgical precision bombing we use today. Brigadier General Olds' courageous life stands as a timeless example of the power of faith and the strength of the human spirit.

    "Our thoughts and prayers are with his devoted family as they mourn his loss, a loss we feel as well. America and our Air Force are eternally grateful for his leadership and accomplishments, and will remember him always," General Moseley said.

    General Olds was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, on July 14, 1922, the son of Maj. Gen. Robert and Mrs. Eloise Olds. He spent his younger years in Hampton, Va., and attended the United States Military Academy at West Point, where he was an All-American tackle. He graduated in 1943 as a second lieutenant.

    Following graduation from pilot training in 1943, General Olds was assigned to the European Theater at the end of World War II, where he flew 107 combat missions. During the Vietnam War, he flew 152 combat missions in the F-4 Phantom as the wing commander of the 8th Tactical Fighter Wing at Ubon Air Base, Thailand.

    General Olds' exploits as the creator and mission commander of Operation Bolo, the most successful aerial battle of the Vietnam War, has been documented in the recent History Channel Dogfights Special series "Air Ambush."

  • #2
    A sad day in aviation history. Gen. Olds was a great pilot and a great American. I was able to meet him once at a conference at the USAFM. When asked about not becoming an ace in Vietnam his reply was "They told me if I became an ace with 5 kills, they would send me home. So I made sure I didn't shoot anything else down, or at least I made sure I didn't get credit for it." Fighter pilot through and through.
    Wayne Dippold