Robin Olds

United States Air Force General
Born Jul 14, 1922

Robin Olds was an American fighter pilot and general officer in the U.S. Air Force. He was a "triple ace", with a combined total of 16 victories in World War II and the Vietnam War. He retired in 1973 as a brigadier general. The son of regular Army Maj. Gen. Robert Olds, educated at West Point, and the product of an upbringing in the early years of the U.S. Army Air Corps, Olds epitomized the youthful World War II fighter pilot.… Read More

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1922 Birth Olds was born "Robert Oldys, Jr." in Honolulu into an Army family and spent much of his boyhood in Hampton, Virginia, where he attended elementary and high school. His father was Captain (later Major General) Robert Oldys (later Olds), an instructor pilot in France during World War I, former aide to Brigadier General Billy Mitchell from 1922 to 1925, and a leading advocate of strategic bombing in the Air Corps. … Read More
1925 2 Years Old On November 10, 1925, his father appeared as a witness on behalf of Billy Mitchell during Mitchell's court-martial in Washington, D.C.. … Read More


1937 14 Years Old 1 More Event
His father was made commander of the pioneer B-17 Flying Fortress 2nd Bombardment Group at Langley Field on March 1, 1937, and promoted to lieutenant colonel on March 7.
1939 16 Years Old …  As a result, the new academy superintendent, Maj. Gen. Robert L. Eichelberger, replaced the head coach (an Army officer) with Earl "Red" Blaik, a 1920 graduate and head coach at Dartmouth, who had recruited Olds in 1939. … Read More
In 1942 he was named by Collier's Weekly as its "Lineman of the Year" and by Grantland Rice as "Player of the Year." … Read More


In March 1943, Olds was braced by an officer upon returning from leave in New York City, and compelled on penalty of an honor violation to admit he had consumed alcohol. … Read More
1944 21 Years Old 1 More Event
In early 1944 he became part of the cadre assigned to build up the newly activated 434th Fighter Squadron and its parent 479th Fighter Group, based at Lomita, California. … Read More
1945 22 Years Old 1 More Event
Promoted to major on February 9, 1945, Olds claimed his seventh victory southeast of Magdeburg, Germany the same day, downing another Bf 109. … Read More
Returning to the United States after the war, Olds was assigned at West Point as an assistant football coach for Red Blaik. Apparently resented by many on the staff for his rapid rise in rank and plethora of combat decorations, Olds transferred in February 1946 to the 412th Fighter Group at March Field, California, to fly the P-80 Shooting Star, which began a career-long professional struggle with superiors he viewed as more promotion- than warrior-minded.
1947 24 Years Old They married in Beverly Hills on February 6, 1947, and had two daughters, Christina and Susan, and a son, Robert Ernest, who was stillborn in 1958. Most of their 29-year marriage, marked by frequent extended separations and difficult homecomings, was turbulent because of a clash of lifestyles, particularly her refusal to ever live in government housing on base. Robin Olds and Ella Raines separated in 1975 and divorced in 1976. Robin married Abigail Morgan Sellers Barnett in January 1978, and they divorced after fifteen years of marriage.
1948 25 Years Old 1 More Event
Olds went to England under the U.S. Air Force/Royal Air Force Exchange Program in 1948.
1949 26 Years Old Following his exchange assignment, Olds returned to March AFB to become operations officer of the 94th Fighter Squadron of the 1st Fighter Group, flying F-86A Sabres, on November 15, 1949. … Read More


1955 32 Years Old At first on the command staff of the 86th Fighter-Interceptor Wing at Landstuhl Air Base, Germany, Olds then commanded its Sabre-equipped 86th Fighter-Interceptor Group from October 8, 1955, to August 10, 1956.
1958 35 Years Old 1 More Event
He then was made chief of the Weapons Proficiency Center at Wheelus Air Base, Libya, in charge of all fighter weapons training for the United States Air Forces Europe until July 1958.
1959 36 Years Old From November 1959 to March 1960, his section worked intensely to develop a program reducing the entire structure of the ADC with the purpose of generating $6.5 billion for classified funding to develop the SR-71 Blackbird.


1963 40 Years Old Following his Pentagon assignment, Olds attended the National War College, graduating in 1963. … Read More
1966 43 Years Old On September 30, 1966, Olds took command of the 8th Tactical Fighter Wing, based at Ubon Royal Thai Air Force Base. … Read More
He was awarded a fourth Silver Star for leading a three-aircraft low-level bombing strike on March 30, 1967, and the Air Force Cross for an attack on the Paul Doumer Bridge in Hanoi on August 11, one of five awarded to Air Force pilots for that mission.
1971 49 Years Old 1 More Event
In February 1971 he began his last duty assignment as director of aerospace safety in the Office of the Inspector General, Headquarters USAF, and after December 1971 as part of the Air Force Inspection and Safety Center, a newly activated separate operating agency located at Norton Air Force Base, California. … Read More


1973 51 Years Old Olds decided to leave the Air Force when the offer was refused (he was offered another inspection tour instead) and he retired on June 1, 1973. … Read More


2001 79 Years Old Olds' fondness for alcohol was well known. John Darrell Sherwood, in his book Fast Movers: Jet Pilots and the Vietnam Experience, posits that Olds' heavy drinking hurt his post-Vietnam career. On July 12, 2001, Olds was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol and resisting arrest near his home in Steamboat Springs. … Read More
2005 83 Years Old In his retirement at Steamboat Springs, Colorado, Olds pursued his love of skiing and served on the city's planning commission. He was active in public speaking, making 21 events as late in his life as 2005 and 13 in 2006.
2006 84 Years Old The History Channel, in its series Dogfights, recreated Operation Bolo using a computer animation for an episode entitled "Air Ambush", first telecast on November 10, 2006. … Read More
2007 85 Years Old On the evening of June 14, 2007, General Olds died from congestive heart failure in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. … Read More
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