Sunday, June 17, 2007

Another Hero Gone ...


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 Nam Conflict 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"...

...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.

When I was but a wee lad riding my "10 speed" around Waco, Texas trying to figure out how I would ever get into flight school and be a fighter pilot...I pedaled my bike over to the Air Force recruiter and picked up a copy of Airman magazine. Inside was a story about Operation Bolo. That day was the first time I ever read or heard anything about a man named Robin Olds, an American hero. His story and accomplishments inspired me, and I think in some way led me to where I am today. While I'm not a fighter pilot (I screwed around way too much in college for the Air Force to want any part of me), I think I've done pretty well for myself and I am thankful for Robin and those like him. His passing makes me wonder who the kids of today read about, look up to and are inspired by...I can only hope there is a Robin Olds for them. We'll see you on the green Robin.



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