Saturday, October 10, 2015

Wolf 01

Brigadier General Robin Olds, USAF
July 14, 1922 – June 14, 2007
General Olds is another of my heroes, he gets mentioned around here a lot. I'm currently reading his memoirs and they are interesting, intense and, much like the man, direct and to the point.

When General Olds passed away back in June of 2007, I posted his picture outside of my cubicle, bordered in black. This one as a matter of fact:

Colonel Olds preflighting his F-4C Phantom before a combat mission in Southeast Asia, circa Sept 1967, while serving as the Commander of the 8th Tactical Fighter Wing at Ubon Royal Thai Air Base, Thailand.

At his funeral there was a missing man formation executed by four F-4 Phantoms. Normally the element lead will pull up and out of the formation (see next diagram)


At General Olds' funeral at the Air Force Academy, the flight lead executed the maneuver. A tribute to General Olds leadership.

Photo of the missing man formation for General Olds.
(Fuzzy but it's all I could find...)

The following video actually features gun camera footage from General Olds' aircraft in World War II.


We could use a few more like him in the modern Air Force, hell, we could use a lot more like him!

17 comments:

  1. Some exceptionally fine shooting there. No spray and pray or walking the tracers in. Short economical bursts directly on target. Takes more than a mustache.

    If you ever get a chance read Ray Jones' book and see what he has to say about Olds and Yeager. A little different perspective which is good to have. For that matter look at what Olds has to say about Broughton.

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    1. What's the Title? Searching Amazon on Ray Jones didn't come up with anything that seemed relevant.

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    2. this one, which doesn't have the most searchable title in the world...
      http://www.amazon.com/MEMOIR-DYNAMITE-CHECK-Ray-Jones-ebook/dp/B00ERO41KA/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1444502938&sr=1-1&keywords=dynamite+check+six

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    3. Sigh, yet another book to add to my list.

      A list which seemingly has no end!

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  2. Loved the hat. Went through the 434th TFTS and the 479TFW at Holloman as a student. Don't remember anything about Gen Olds being an alumni though.

    Strafing always took a lot of talent, and I never had the top strafe scores in the squadron. Low to the ground and straight and level is always dangerous, so the training emphasized short concentrated bursts. On training flights where strafe was one of the events (AT-38 it was THE event, we either had a gun or bombs not both), the objective was to get 4-5 passes with the 100 rounds loaded. 6000 rounds per minute =100 rounds per second= 1/5 to 1/4 seconds on the trigger. If you heard the gun before you took your finger off the trigger, you fired too long. It was exactly opposite in the Eagle. You wanted bullet density at target range, so you wanted about a 1 second squeeze. After 6 years of strafing, it took me a while to get out of that habit.

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    1. Ever do any hi-angle strafe (60 degree dive angle on tanks, aircraft on runways, etc) in the F-4 with the old center-line pod? Or skip-bombing? (usually 50' on RALT) We did most of that at Wheelus in Tripoli..

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    2. When Robin Olds was a brand new colonel he commanded the chase birds and the range at Wheelus!

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    3. When I was at DaNang they had some slots open for the F-100 chase birds at Wheelus, but I was only a 1st/Lt with no time in the front seat as an a/c so was ineligible, but as I found out when I rotated down there from the UK for Bomb & Gun, that was sweet, sweet, duty. Talk about a paid vacation!

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    4. Yeah, We had a Red Flag exercise in the F-4E that was more of a logistics exercise. After we went through the obligatory Range Fam rides (one with BDUs, the second with inerts), every other ride in the exercise (3 per day for first go, 2 per day for second go, swap after the first week, for two weeks) was a either 12 Mk-82s, or 2 Mk-84s or a GBU or two, all live, plus the gun was full. All had to be expended. Needless to say, there was a LOT of unexploded ordnance on the range after a short while. The DO changed the tactics and mandated High Angle Strafe after he overstressed a jet trying to avoid the frag pattern of a bomb he exploded in a low angle strafe run.
      Man! that was a fun exercise.

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  3. How would he fare in today's environment?

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    1. Sigh, I'm guessing this is rhetorical WSF. But Virgil answers it well, down below.

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  4. How would he fare? You even need to ask? In todays uber PC environment? Look at that pic of the cig in his mouth. The mere fact that he smoke and drank heavily and that it was made wide public knowledge would probably mean that a) he would never make it past O-4 and then be Riffed and then< b) He would NEVER command a flying unit of any kind. And if somehow he managed to get to O-6 under the radar, that photo would be the kiss of death. No flag rank for you, cancer boy..

    (It's a GOOD thing I served when I did. If I started out today I'd be in Levenworth doing a 20-yr stretch starting six months from now. Hell, at graduation ceremony in UPT in 66 to get our wings I had to give a ride to a classmate because he couldn't drive as he had two (2) DUIs--one via on-base Air Police and one by off-base civilians sheriffs dept. He went on to garner three silver stars and make O-6. Today? The PC-drenched "Big Kids" would rip his uniform off on the spot..)

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    1. Good Lord, how did we make it to this ripe old age? Everyone should have the memory of the burning pain of the zippo, left against the skin side of the pack of Marlboros on the left arm, the fluid having leaked out at altitude. And don't forget driving from the "Wagon Wheel" in downtown Big Springs with one eye shut so you'd only see double.

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  5. Filters down to the enlisted. My service was 50 years ago. My youngest was recently medically retired. The PC crap he put up with would have been a fantasy back in my day. We had a Reformed Latter Day Saint Company Commander. When he made Captain, he handed out candy canes. Our 1st Sergeant put his on a poster board with the words, "First the Brown Boot Army. Then the Black Boot Army. Now this bullshit". Stayed up for about a week. Today?

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    1. Heh.

      No doubt your Top would be in sensitivity training before getting the Big Chicken Dinner!

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Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)