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, he was a captain in the 434th Fighter Squadron, flying a P-38J named “Scat”. He became an ace in his first two combat missions, 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 Handorf 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 an 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, and 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 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. He retired to the ski slopes of Steamboat Springs, Colorado on 1 June 1973.
TALLY RECORD: 17 Confirmed (13 in WWII and 4 in Vietnam) and one Damaged
DECORATIONS: Air Force Cross, Silver Star with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters, Distinguished Flying Cross with 4 OLCs, Air Medal with 39 OLCs, British Distinguished Flying Cross and the French Croix de Guerre