Ace: Robin Olds
Branch: United States Army Air Force
Conflict: World War II, Vietnam War
Hometown: Honolulu, HI
Victories: 18 confirmed, five probable
Decorations: Distinguished Flying Cross with one Oak Leaf Cluster, Air Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, Bronze Star, Distinguished Flying Cross, Chinese Air Force Medal (2), Order of the Cloud Banner (2)
Born into an Army family in Honolulu on 14 July 1922, Robin Olds graduated from the U.S. Military Academy on 1 June 1943. Joining the 479th Fighter Group, he sailed to England in May 1944. By summer, flying a P-38J named Scat, he was a captain in the 434th Fighter Squadron. He became an ace in his first two combats, claiming two Fw-190s on 14 August and three Me-109s on the 25th.
The 479th re-equipped with P-51s in September and Olds first scored in the Mustang on 6 October. Promoted to major on 9 February 1945, he claimed his seventh victory southeast of Magdeburg, Germany that very day. A large dogfight southwest of Berlin on 14 February resulted in three confirmed victories, two ‘109s and a ‘190.
Over Hadorf Airdrome near Munster on 19 March, Olds ran his score to an even dozen. Then, near Bremen on 7 April, he bagged a ‘109 and scored hits on a Me-262 jet. At the end of his tour he was commander of the 434th.
During a 1949 exchange tour, Olds commanded the RAF’s No. 1 Squadron, but missed Korean War action. From 1955 to 1965 he commanded two wings in Europe and in September 1966 took over the 8th Tactical Fighter Wing at Ubon, Thailand. Entering the air war over North Vietnam as a 44-year-old colonel, he flew an F-4C Phantom II named Scat XXVII.
Olds planned and led “Operation Bolo,” a fighter sweep against NVAF MiG-21s on 2 January 1967. He shot down one MiG-21 that day and added another MiG over Phuc Yen Airfield on 4 May. Two weeks later, on the 20th, he destroyed two more MiG-21s.
Promoted to brigadier general, Olds became commandant of cadets at the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1968 and retired to the ski slopes of Steamboat Springs, CO on 1 June 1973.