Kunsan celebrates Fighter Ace Robin Olds 95th birthday
KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- He was a former all-American football player at West Point, the husband of movie star, Ella Raines, and sported a meticulously waxed handlebar mustache.
Larger than life, and etched in Air Force heritage, he was Brig. Gen. Robin Olds.
However, these reasons are not why Airmen assigned to the 8th Fighter Wing at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, along with his daughter Christina Olds, took time on July 14, 2017, to celebrate the life and accomplishments of this one man.
The legacy of the 8th FW began Jan. 2, 1967, when then Col. Olds led F-4C Phantom IIs, suited for air-to-air combat, disguised as the F-105 Thunderchief, suited to air-to-ground combat, and tricked 16 North Vietnamese MiG-21s into battle. The immediate result: seven enemy aircraft destroyed over Phúc Yên, and Olds safely ensured every F-4C from the 8th, 355th, 366th and 388th Tactical Fighter Wings returned back to its respective Royal Thai Air Base in Thailand.
What was titled Operation Bolo was a complete success.
Coined the biggest air battle of the Vietnam War and the start of what is now the Wolfpack today, Bolo would change the dynamic of aerial fighting for the rest of the war.
Over 50 years later, Col. Olds’ daughter reminisced on her father’s legacy with the Wolf Pack which he started that day in 1967.
“Today was a great way to celebrate my Dad on what would have been his 95th birthday,” said Christina Olds. “Knowing that the Airmen at Kunsan are keeping my father’s legacy of the Wolfpack alive and well is very humbling.”
As a part of the first Robin Olds Day at Kunsan, Christina was given a tour of the installation which included mentorship breakfast with 8th FW leadership, a visit to the air traffic control tower, a demonstration by 8th Security Forces Squadron atop Big Coyote, one-on-one interaction with Airmen and multiple unit tours.
“While I was at Big Coyote, I could see all of Kunsan and it not only gave me a glimpse of what my Dad helped to build, but put in perspective how powerful the mission is here and what it truly means to ‘Defend the Base’,” said Olds. “I’m so proud of everyone here and the commitment that it takes to do their job day-in and day-out.”
Olds concluded her visit with a presentation to Wolfpack Airmen that included personal pictures, stories about his life, his leadership style and her growing up with one of the most well-known fighter pilots, as a father.
“He was the greatest dad; very sweet and funny,” said Olds. “He was also very firm, but I always trusted him and never felt safer when I was with him so I have an understanding of why men so willingly followed him into battle. He had this quiet sold way of connecting with people and never making anything about himself.”
Olds mentioned that a previous visit of hers to Kunsan was memorable, but this one in particular was the one she would always hold dear. She went on to say how her father was never afraid to voice his opinion and felt comradery played an important role in the success of the mission.
“I think if my dad were here today, and if it was possible for him to stand taller than his 6’2”, he would be just as humbled and stunned as I was after this visit,” said Olds. “The 8th Fighter Wing carries his spirit on and I’m overwhelmed and so proud to have witnessed it today.”