Robin Olds was many things to many people. To his West Point football coach he was an All American destined for the National College Football Hall of Fame. To his P-38 and P-51 wartime squadrons in WWII he was the aggressive fighter pilot who made double ace and became their commander in nine short months. For the pioneers of the jet age, he was the wingman on the first jet demo team, a racer in the Thompson Trophy race, and the only U.S. exchange officer to command an RAF squadron. In the tabloid press he was the dashing flying hero who married the glamorous movie star. For the current crop of fighter pilots he is best known as the leader of the F-4 Wolfpack battling over North Vietnam. For cadets at the Air Force Academy he was a role model and mentor. He was all of those things and more.
Here’s Robin’s story in his own words and gleaned from the family and friends of his lifetime. Here’s the talent and learning, the passion and leadership, the love and disappointments of his life. Few men have written on the tablets of aviation history with such a broad and indelible brush. Olds was a classic hero with vices as well as virtues, a life writ large that impacted many.
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Praise for Fighter Pilot:
“A gripping narrative...Compelling reading, likely to become a classic.” —Booklist
“Robin Olds is probably the greatest aerial warrior America ever produced. His autobiography tells it like it was...and provides written proof why the people who served with him made him a legend. This book will be an instant classic.” —Stephen Coonts, New York Times bestselling author of The Assassin
“One man’s account of war and, in its way, a tribute to a vanished breed of men.” —The Wall Street Journal
“Excellent...at times, his poetic descriptions reveal a humanity rarely exhibited in public by this swashbuckling, handlebar-mustachioed giant of air power.” —Aviation Weekly
Book Review: Fighter Pilot - WSJ.comDaniel Ford reviews Robin Olds's Fighter Pilot, a memoir of flying combat missions in Vietnam.- The Wall Street Journal
Robin Olds (1922-2007) was a U.S. Air Force fighter pilot. A triple ace, he achieved a combined total of 16 victories in the Second World War and the Vietnam War. Born into an army family in Honolulu and raised in Virginia, he was educated at West Point, where he was an All American football player. He fought in Europe during World War II, and was regarded as the best wing commander in the Vietnam War. He was promoted to brigadier general after Vietnam, and also served as Commandant of Cadets at the U.S. Air Force Academy. Christina Olds is the daughter of Robin Olds. She holds a B.A. in English and creative writing from Vassar. Ed Rasimus is a retired USAF fighter pilot whose books on the Vietnam air war include When Thunder Rolled and Palace Cobra.
Christina OldsEd RasimusRobin Olds