Air Force Cross Air Force Distinguished Service Medal (2) Silver Star (4) Legion of Merit Distinguished Flying Cross (6) Air Medal (40) British Distinguished Flying Cross Croix de Guerre with Star (France) (July 14, 1922 – June 14, 2007) was an American fighter pilot and general officer in the U. He remained in the service as it became the United States Air Force, despite often being at odds with its leadership, and was one of its pioneer jet pilots.
He was a "triple ace", with a combined total of 16 victories in World War II and the Vietnam War. The son of Army Air Forces Major General Robert Olds, educated at West Point, and the product of an upbringing in the early years of the U. Army Air Corps, Olds epitomized the youthful World War II fighter pilot.
Olds expressed his philosophy regarding fighter pilots in the quote: "There are pilots and there are pilots; with the good ones, it is inborn. If you are a fighter pilot, you have to be willing to take risks." Olds was born "Robert Oldys, Jr." in Honolulu into an Army family and spent much of his boyhood in Hampton, Virginia, where he attended elementary and high school.
His father was Captain (later Major General) Robert Oldys (later Olds), Olds virtually made daily contact with the small group of officers who would lead the US Army Air Forces in World War II (one neighbor was Major Carl Spaatz, destined to become the first Chief of Staff of the USAF), On November 10, 1925, his father appeared as a witness on behalf of Billy Mitchell during Mitchell's court-martial in Washington, D. He brought three-year-old Robin with him to court, dressed in an Air Service uniform, and posed with him for newspaper photographers before testifying.
Olds had a highly publicized career and life, including marriage to Hollywood actress Ella Raines.
As a young man he was also recognized for his athletic prowess in both high school and college, being named an All-American as a lineman in college football.
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