by Bryan R. Swopes From Today in Aviation
On September 23, 1967, Colonel Robin Olds, Wing Commander of the 8th Tactical Fighter Wing based at the Royal Thai Ubon-Rachitani Air Base, carried out the last combat mission of his military career.
On this last mission, Colonel Olds flew a McDonnell F-4C-21-MC Phantom II, serial number 63-7668. Olds had piloted this Phantom when he and Lt. William D. Lefever shot down a MiG-21 near Hanoi on May 4, 1967. 63-7668 had been delivered to the factory’s 8th Tactical Fighter Wing on January 18, 1965. He was lost in the South China Sea, January 27, 1968.
General Olds was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, the son of Major General of the Army Air Corps and Mrs. Robert Olds. He grew up in the Hampton, Virginia area where he attended elementary and high school. He graduated from the US Military Academy, West Point, NY, and was appointed second lieutenant in June 1943. A member of the academy football team, he was selected as an All-American tackle in 1942. He completed his pilot training in 1943.
General Olds was ranked triple ace, having shot down a total of 17 enemy planes during WWII and the Vietnam War. He started his fight by flying in a P-38 Lightning named “Scat 1“During World War II, and at the end of the war, he was flying”Scat VII,âA P-51 Mustang, and was credited with 107 combat missions and 24.5 victories, 12 downed planes and 11 1/2 planes destroyed on the ground.
During the Vietnam War in October 1966, General Olds entered combat flight into Southeast Asia in “Scat XXVIIâ, An F-4 Phantom II. It flew 152 combat missions, including 105 over North Vietnam. Using air-to-air missiles, it shot down two Mig-17 and two Mig-21 planes over North Vietnam, two of them during a mission.
General Olds was a winger with the Air Force’s first jet aerobatics team and won second place in the Thompson Trophy Race (Jet Division) at Cleveland in 1946. He took part in the first transcontinental round-trip flight in the United States. ‘a day, from dawn to dusk. in June 1946 from March Field, California, to Washington, DC, and back.
His postings in England, Germany, Libya, Thailand and the United States have included squadron, base, group and wing commander positions; staff assignments in a numbered air force, the US Air Force headquarters, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff organization. He graduated from National War College, 1963.
In February 1946, General Olds began flying P-80 jets at March Field, Calif., With the first squadron so equipped. In October 1948, he traveled to England as part of the US Air Force and Royal Air Force exchange program and served as the commander of the 1st Fighter Squadron at Royal Air Force Station Tangmere. The squadron was equipped with the Gloster Meteor jet fighter.
He assumed the duties of commander of the 8th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Royal Thai Air Force Base Ubon, Thailand, in September 1966. He returned to the United States in December 1967 and served as the Commander of Cadets at Ubon The US Air Force Academy until January 1971. General Olds assumed the position of Director of Aerospace Safety at the Air Force Safety and Inspection Center at Norton Air Force Base, Calif., In February 1971.
Its military decorations and awards include the Air Force Cross, Distinguished Service Medal, Silver Star with three oak leaf clusters, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross with five oak leaf clusters. , the Air medal with 39 clusters of oak leaves, the Air Force Medal, British Distinguished Flying Cross, French Croix de Guerre, Distinguished Service Order of the Vietnamese Air Force, Medal of the Vietnam Air Gallantry with Gold Wings, Vietnam Air Service Medal and Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal. He is a command pilot. He was promoted to the provisional rank of brigadier general as of June 1, 1968, with the rank date May 28, 1968.
On the evening of June 14, 2007, he died of congestive heart failure in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, a month before his 85th birthday. He was honored with an overview and service at the United States Air Force Academy, where his ashes are housed, June 30, 2007
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