Thursday, July 12, 2007

Remembering Robin Olds

Recently I told you about the passing of one of America's great legends of flight. A man who by all accounts was the prototypical Fighter Pilot.

Over at Instapinch there are a few stories which will give you insight into why this guy, was such a great leader and Fighter Pilot for the ages.

...So sleepless and delayed by an actual business meeting, I trudged into the Auger Inn around 2130 hours, having failed in my duty to greet General Olds properly. As if my presence had mattered. The Auger was at full blast with Rockin’ Robin holding court with a throng of young fighter pilots listening to him in rapt attention.

As I elbowed up to General Olds, I heard a young jock ask him,

“ What would you like most to be remembered for, sir ? ”

Robin simply and directly replied that … “ I loved my boys. ”

Three hours later, still in stage five burner, the General seemed somewhat indisposed, though the latest bottle of single malt Scotch was not yet at ‘ bingo.’

Sensing the party variation of controlled flight into terrain [ I was gently holding his shoulder for situation awareness purposes…his and mine ! ] I reasoned that now would be an opportune time to break contact and depart the area.

“ If it would please the General it would be a real honor to accept his keys and drive him to his quarters. ”

This of course had the same of effect as stepping on Superman’s cape.

“ It does not please me at this time ! ” he bellowed

Taking that, ah, soft hint, I sublimated, nevertheless continuing to hold on to Robin’s shoulder.

Two more hours passed and by about 0245 hrs I was a morphing into a real zombie; I was, at that moment, simultaneously crashing into the wall of sleep deprivation and gawking at pink elephants doing pirouettes through the main lounge.

However, Robin at age 75 or so, was still in ‘ burner ‘! Given that my grip on his sport coat had become a very stabilizing force in his life, other than an occasional teeter, he was showing no wear!

At my rickety edge of consciousness I meekly re-suggested a departure.

“Are you saying I am too drunk to drive?” he bellowed again.

To which I tactfully replied, “Absolutely not, sir, I only desire the honor and the privilege of driving the General to his quarters.”

He demurred.

Another hour passed before he sensed my weakened state and offered a window of opportunity.

“I demand an honorable challenge before going to quarters,” he declared.

Thinking that I retained superior SA [ another error in judgment ] I replied:

“Let the General engage with his weapon of choice! ”

“ Get me two brooms and those two empty scotch bottles over there. We will Joust! ”...

These stories also made me wonder, given the politically correct, afraid to do anything lest my superiors think I am unworthy of the mantle of responsibility, atmosphere that exists in many of our units...will we ever see a guy like GEN Olds again?

The world is a darker place without the likes of Robin Olds...we definitely need more people like him around.

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