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Check Six – 1967: Col Robin Olds last combat mission

September 23, 2021

23 September 1967 Colonel Robin Olds, USAF, in the cockpit of McDonnell F-4C-21-MC Phantom II, 63-7668, on his last flight out of Ubon-Rachitani RTAFB as Wing Commander, 8th Tactical Fighter Wing,

This was his 152nd combat mission of the Vietnam War.


Robin Olds (July 14, 1922 – June 14, 2007) was an American fighter pilot and general officer in the United States Air Force. He was a “triple ace“, with a combined total of 17 victories in World War II and the Vietnam War. He retired in 1973 as a brigadier general, after 30 years of service.

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 United States Army Air Corps, Olds epitomized the youthful World War II fighter pilot. 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. Rising to the command of two fighter wings, Olds is regarded among aviation historians, and his peers, as the best wing commander of the Vietnam War, for both his air-fighting skills, and his reputation as a combat leader.

Olds was promoted to brigadier general after returning from Vietnam but did not hold another major command. The remainder of his career was spent in non-operational positions, as Commandant of Cadets at the United States Air Force Academy and as an official in the Air Force Inspector General‘s Office. His inability to rise higher as a general officer is attributed to both his maverick views and his penchant for drinking.

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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