Actions
Begin New Search
Refine Last Search
Cemetery Lookup
Add Burial Records
Help with Find A Grave

Find all Oldses in:
 • United States Air Force Academy Cemetery
 • Colorado Springs
 • El Paso County
 • Colorado
 • Find A Grave

Top Contributors
Success Stories
Discussion Forums
Find A Grave Store

Log In
Gen Robin Olds
Birth: Jul. 14, 1922
Death: Jun. 14, 2007

US Air Force Brigadier General. A highly decorated combat fighter pilot of World War II and the Vietnam War, he was a "triple ace" with a combined total of 16 aerial victories in both wars. He is also remembered for his extravagantly waxed and non-regulation handlebar moustache he wore during his tour in Southeast Asia, that he used as a gesture of defiance to higher headquarters on their procedures in conducting out the war. Born Robert Oldys, Jr. in Honolulu, Hawaii, the oldest of four brothers, his father was a career US Army officer who became a major general. His mother died when he was only four years old and he was raised by his father, spending much of his youth in Hampton, Virginia, where he received his elementary and high school education. After graduating from high school, he enrolled at Millard Preparatory School in Washington DC, a school established to prepare young men for the entrance examinations to the military academies. He completed he preparatory school and moved to Uniontown, Pennsylvania, working odd jobs while waiting for his appointment to the US Military Academy at West Point, New York. In July 1940 he enrolled at West Point but after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, he was sent to the Spartan School of Aeronautics in Tulsa, Oklahoma, for primary flight training and completed it in June 1942 and then attended basic and advanced flying training at Stewart Field, New York and returned to West Point. While there, he played varsity football and in 1942 he was named by Collier's Weekly as its "Lineman of the Year" and by Grantland Rice as "Player of the Year." He received his pilot wings in May 1943 and graduated from West Point in an accelerated program the following month with a commission as a 2nd lieutenant. He then completed fighter pilot training with the 329th Fighter Group at the Grand Central Air Terminal in Glendale, California and after gunnery training at Matagorda, Texas in August 1943, he was assigned to P-38 phase training at Muroc Army Air Field (now part of Edwards Air Force Base), California. In early 1944 he became part of the cadre assigned to build up the newly activated 434th Fighter Squadron and its parent 479th Fighter Group, based at Lomita, California, and in May of that year, he arrived with the unit in Scotland and then on to Royal Air Force Wattisham, England, where he began flying bomber escort missions and attacking transportation targets in occupied France. Promoted to the rank of captain in July 1944, he became a flight and later a squadron leader. The following month he shot down his five German aircraft to become his unit's first ace. By early November, he had completed his first combat tour with 270 hours flown and six kills. At the end of his 2nd combat tour in April 1945, he had been promoted to the rank of major and achieved ace status again with six additional kills. After the German surrender in May 1945, he returned to the US and was assigned to West Point as an assistant football coach for Earl "Red" Blaik. In February 1946 he transferred to the 412th Fighter Group at March Field (Now March Air Reserve Base), California, to fly the P-80 Shooting Star aircraft. In 1948 he went to England under the US Air Force/British Royal Air Force (RAF) Exchange Program. Flying the Gloster Meteor jet fighter, he commanded the No. 1 Squadron at RAF Station Tangmere between October 1948 and September 1949, the first foreigner to command an RAF unit in peacetime. In November 1949 he returned to March to become operations officer of the 94th Fighter Squadron of the 1st Fighter Group, flying F-86A Sabre aircraft. He was then assigned to command the 71st Fighter Squadron, which was soon detached from the 1st Fighter Group to the Air Defense Command and based at the Greater Pittsburgh Airport in Pennsylvania, which was soon followed by an assignment to Headquarters Eastern Air Defense Command at Stewart Air Force Base (now Stewart Air National Guard Base), New York. In February 1951 he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel and then to colonel in April 1953, while just thirty years of age, and served in several staff assignments until returning to flying in 1955, at first on the command staff of the 86th Fighter-Interceptor Wing at Landstuhl Air Base, Germany, and in August 1956 as chief of the Weapons Proficiency Center at Wheelus Air Base, Libya (now defunct) and back in Germany where he was in charge of all fighter weapons training for the US Air Forces Europe (USAFE). In July 1958 he returned to the US and served on several staff assignments as the Deputy Chief, Air Defense Division, Headquarters US Air Force in Washington DC. In 1962 he attended the National War College at Fort McNair, Washington DC and following his graduation in 1963 became the commander of the 81st Tactical Fighter Wing at RAF Bentwaters, England, an F-101 Voodoo fighter-bomber wing. While there, he formed a demonstration team for the F-101 using pilots of his wing, without command authorization, and performed at an Air Force open house at Bentwaters. He asserted that his superior at 3rd Air Force attempted to have him court-martialed, but the commander of USAFE, General Gabriel P. Disosway, instead authorized his removal from his command, cancellation of a recommended Legion of Merit award, and transferred him to the headquarters of the 9th Air Force at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina. In September 1966 he became commander of the 8th Tactical Fighter Wing, based at Ubon Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand and from January to May 1967, he shot down two MiG-17 and two MiG-21 aircraft, bringing his career total to 16 confirmed kills, making him a "triple ace." His 259 total combat missions included 107 in World War II and 152 in Southeast Asia, 105 of those over North Vietnam and his F-4C aircraft was retired from operational service and placed on display at the US Air Force National Museum at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. In September 1967 he returned to the US and became the Commandant for Cadets at the US Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado three months later and sought to restore morale in the wake of a major cheating scandal. In June 1968 he was promoted to the rank of brigadier general. In February 1971 he became the Director of Aerospace Safety in the Office of the Inspector General at Headquarters US Air Force in Washington DC, where he oversaw the creation of policies, standards, and procedures for Air Force accident prevention programs, and dealt with work safety education, workplace accident investigation and analysis, and safety inspections. He retired in June 1973 with 30 years of continuous military service. His military and foreign decorations and awards include the Air Force Cross, the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal, the Silver Star with 3 oak leaf clusters, the Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross with 5 oak leaf clusters. the Air Medal with 39 oak leaf clusters, the Air Force Commendation Medal, the Presidential Unit Citation with 1 oak leaf cluster, the Outstanding Unit Award with 2 oak leaf clusters, the American Defense Service Medal, the American Campaign Medal, the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with 6 campaign stars, the World War II Victory Medal, the National Defense Service Medal with 2nd award star, the Vietnam Service Medal, the French Legion d'honneur, the British Distinguished Flying Cross, the French Croix de Guerre with star, the Vietnam Air Gallantry Cross with Gold Wings, the Vietnam Air Force Meritorious Service Medal, and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal. He was a rated command pilot. After his military retirement, he resided in Steamboat Springs, Colorado and served on the city's planning commission. He also became an active public speaker, up through 2006. In March 2007 he was hospitalized for complications of prostate cancer and he died of congestive heart failure three months later in Steamboat Springs, Colorado at the age of 84. He married Hollywood film actress Ella Raines in February 1947 and they were divorced in 1976. (bio by: William Bjornstad) 
 
Family links: 
 Spouse:
  Ella Raines (1920 - 1988)
 
Burial:
United States Air Force Academy Cemetery
Colorado Springs
El Paso County
Colorado, USA
Plot: Section 6, Row D, Grave 34
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: Fred Beisser
Record added: Jun 17, 2007
Find A Grave Memorial# 19948151
Gen Robin Olds
Added by: William Bjornstad
 
Gen Robin Olds
Added by: Anonymous
 
Gen Robin Olds
Added by: Jimmy Jones
 
There is 1 more photo not showing...
Click here to view all images...
Photos may be scaled.
Click on image for full size.

Thank you for your military service to our country, in peacetime and war. You were an interesting person who was not afraid to "buck the system" and not follow the rules. I would have loved to met you. May you rest in peace.
- William Bjornstad
 Added: Jul. 3, 2014

-Anonymous
 Added: Jun. 14, 2014
Honor to serve in the same branch of service as you did. They dont make them like you anymore General. Thank you for your service and dedication. Read your book; that you and your daughter wrote; "Fighter Pilot" awesome book.
- Nathan Lee Wood
 Added: Jun. 14, 2014
There are 191 more notes not showing...
Click here to view all notes...
How famous was this person?
Current ranking for this person: (4.4 after 83 votes)
 

Privacy Statement and Terms of Service