An Airman's Story: Brigadier General Robin Olds

Brigadier General Robin Olds was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, on July 14, 1922.

His family moved to Hampton, Virginia, and he attended Hampton High school, where he was the class president and member of the 1937 state champion varsity football team. Brigadier General Robin Olds graduated in 1939 and turned down scholarships to both the Virginia Military Institute and Dartmouth University to attend West Point's Millard Prep School.

He was accepted into the West Point military academy in July 1940 and played for the West Point football team.

After the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 and the beginning of World War II his academy education was interrupted so he could attend the Spartan School of Aeronautics. Unfortunately, his entire class graduated a year early, in June of 1943, because of World War II. General Robin Olds would receive his pilot wings and head to Williamsfield, Arizona, to complete pilot training.

General Olds was assigned to the 434th Squadron and deployed to Europe, where he would dogfight and provide air support for the Invasion of Normandy and participate in the air battles over Germany and Luxembourg.

After World War II, he briefly served as the assistant football coach at West Point, took 2nd place in the Thompson Trophy, and performed a transcontinental "dawn-to-dusk" flight from March Field in California to Washington D.C.. and back again before he returned to an air unit and commanded a team with the Royal Air Force under the Royal Air Force Exchange Program.  

Brigadier General Robin Olds would have several administrative and air command assignments during the 1950s and early 1960s, despite his strong preference for air units. He graduated from the National War College in 1963.

In 1966, General Robin Olds headed to Thailand to command the Eighth Tactical Fighter Wing at Ubon Royal Air Base in Thailand and participate in air support for the Vietnam War.

Brigadier General Robin Olds became the Commander of Cadets at the U.S. Air Force Academy in December of 1967. He would remain until 1971 when he became the Director of Aerospace Safety at the Air Force Safety and Inspection Station in Norton Air Force Base.

He retired from the military in 1973, moved to Steamboat Springs, Colorado, and spent his remaining years as a writer and lecturer.  

Brigadier General Robin Olds died on June 14, 2007, and rests at the U.S. Air Force Military Academy. 


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