Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
Fighter Pilot

Fighter Pilot

The Memoirs of Legendary Ace Robin Olds

Robin Olds with Christina Olds and Ed Rasimus

St. Martin's Press




Please note: This ebook edition does not include the photo insert from the print edition.

The widely anticipated memoir of legendary ace American fighter pilot, Robin Olds

Robin Olds was a larger-than-life hero with a towering personality. A graduate of West Point and an inductee in the National College Football Hall of Fame for his All-American performance for Army, Olds was one of the toughest college football players at the time. In WWII, Olds quickly became a top fighter pilot and squadron commander by the age of 22—and an ace with 12 aerial victories.
But it was in Vietnam where the man became a legend. He arrived in 1966 to find a dejected group of pilots and motivated them by placing himself on the flight schedule under officers junior to himself, then challenging them to train him properly because he would soon be leading them. Proving he wasn't a WWII retread, he led the wing with aggressiveness, scoring another four confirmed kills, becoming a rare triple ace.

Olds (who retired a brigadier general and died in 2007) was a unique individual whose personal story is one of the most eagerly anticipated military books of the year.


From Chapter 7: Victories—at Last!

By August we had all changed. Combat does that. It digs deep into your soul, searching to find the grit. For most, it isn't something you think about. It just happens. The world shrinks around...


Praise for Fighter Pilot

“This volume could not be more appropriately titled, because triple-ace Olds wanted to be a fighter pilot from when he was an air-corps brat just five years old. His daughter and an air-force colleague have assembled a mass of material he left behind at his death in 2007 into a gripping narrative that covers childhood, West Point, WWII, peacetime, and Vietnam as well as his long retirement. Not all the turbulence he encountered was in the air. His marriage to actress Ella Raines had its ups and downs, and he was by his own admission a reluctant staff officer and often a difficult, even wild, subordinate. At the same time, he gives us the portrait of a dedicated air warrior, the men who served with him, and U.S. fighters, both the sworn-by and the sworn-at, throughout a span of 30 years. Compelling reading, likely to become a classic.” —Roland Green, Booklist

“Robin Olds is probably the greatest aerial warrior America ever produced. He is the real deal, a fighter pilot's fighter pilot, a consummate military professional, a natural, charismatic leader, and a true, heroic servant of our republic. His autobiography tells it like it was... and provides written proof why the people who served with him made him a legend. That men like Olds chose to wear our nation's uniform does high honor to the profession. I confidently predict that this book will be an instant classic.” —Stephen Coonts, New York Times bestselling author of The Disciple

“Robin Olds was bold, audacious and courageous; truly one of America premier fighter pilots. His captivating story, told in riveting fashion, provides great insights into his life and the attributes that make a great fighter pilot. Warning! If you start to read, you will have trouble putting it down!” —Henry H. Shelton, General, US Army (R), former Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff

“Triple-ace Robin Olds' legendary leadership and heroic service to the cause of freedom have been an inspiration to our nation and our Air Force. He is one of our 'great captains' and a pioneer of air power.” —General T. Michael Moseley (Ret.)

“Massively welcomed by his legion of fans.” —Walter J. Boyne, author and former director of the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.

“Brigadier General Robin Olds was the Commandant of Cadets at the Air Force Academy when I arrived there in 1968. As such, he was my commander. After serving over 34 years in the Air Force, I have encountered no one … repeat no one … who was a better leader, wartime commander, or judge of men. He was larger than life; a legend. This book superbly tells a smattering of his accomplishments … and it does so in his own words. It is a must read for anyone who cares about Airpower or who wants to understand the lessons of the past.” —Michael M. Dunn, Lt General (Ret), USAF, President/CEO Air Force Association

“I just finished reading the draft. What a remarkable book - I was absolutely riveted! The fascinating details, the way it captured the true maverick spirit of General Olds...his blunt honesty and absolute integrity, his triumphs and tragedies... made for one terrific read! What an amazing man - and one of America's greatest warriors and leaders. I was incredibly honored to have known him and to have featured him in my TV series. This is a must read for anyone who wants to get into the mind of a true fighter pilot and a brilliant leader. A truly remarkable book...I highly recommend it!” —Cynthia Harrison, Creator/Executive Producer, Dogfights for The History Channel

“This book is a must-read for all fighter pilots, history buffs, and patriots. The stories will fascinate the aviation veteran but will be just as interesting to the ‘everyman'. General Olds was a legend, a leader, a hero, a role model, and a genuine Sierra Hotel character.” —T. Allan McArtor, Chairman, Airbus Americas, former FAA Administrator, and fighter pilot

In the Press

Daniel Ford reviews Robin Olds's Fighter Pilot, a memoir of flying combat missions in Vietnam. - The Wall Street Journal

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Robin Olds with Christina Olds and Ed Rasimus

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.

Ed Rasimus

Ed Rasimus

Christina Olds


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