Friends of the 475th
Major Jay T. Robbins
Jay Thorpe "Cock" Robbins was born on 16 September 1919 in Coolidge, Texas. He graduated from Texas A&M College in 1940 with a reserve commission through R.O.T.C. Entering active duty as a second lieutenant of Infantry on 13 February 1941, he later transferred to the Army Air Forces and completed pilot training at Randolph Field, Texas on 3 July 1942.
Sent to the 20th Fighter Group at Morris Field, North Carolina, he transitioned to fighters. In September Lieutenant Robbins joined the "Headhunters", the 80th Fighter Squadron, 8th Fighter Group, in the Southwest Pacific. Flying P-38 Lightning's, he knocked down three Zekes and claimed another as a probable on 21 July 1943, four Zekes and two probable on 4 September and four Hamps and a probable on 24 October. He finished the year with two Zekes destroyed and another probable on 26 December.
In January 1944, Robbins became commander of the famed "Headhunters". Under his leadership, and with numerous pilots attaining ace category, it became the first squadron in the Southwest Pacific to score 200 victories. From 30 March until 17 August, Robbins added eight Japanese fighters to his score, while participating in raids against the Japanese strongholds at Rabaul, New Britain and Hollandia, Dutch New Guinea as the Americans pushed back toward the Philippines.
Promoted to major on 22 May 1944, in September Robbins became deputy commander of the 8th Fighter Group but continued to fly with his old squadron. He returned home in December 1944, having logged 181 combat missions.
Over the next 30 years, Robbins rose to lieutenant general, serving as commander of the Twelfth Air Force and vice commander of Tactical Air Command prior to retiring as vice commander of Military Airlift Command on 21 September 1974.
TALLY RECORD: 22 Confirmed, 6 Probable and 4 Damaged
DECORATIONS: Distinguished Service Cross with one Oak Leaf Cluster, Distinguished Service Medal with 2 OLCs, Silver Star with one OLC, Legion of Merit with 2 OLCs, Distinguished Flying Cross with 3 OLCs and Air Medal with 6OLCs