Robert Olds

Robert Olds (June 15, 1896 – April 28, 1943) was a general officer in the United States Army Air Forces, theorist of strategic air power, and proponent of an independent United States Air Force. Olds is best known today as the father of Brig. Gen. Robin Olds, a "triple ace" fighter pilot of World War II and the Vietnam War.[1]

He became an instructor at the Air Corps Tactical School between 1928 and 1931, the crucial period when the theory of strategic bombardment achieved ascendancy within the Air Corps as the most effective use of airpower.[2] With eight colleagues at the ACTS, he was a member of the "Bomber Mafia,"[3] whose influence led to adoption of the theory as the doctrine of daylight precision bombing during World War II. Olds was a persuasive, sometimes controversial figure in the unsuccessful campaign during the 1930s to promote air force independence, but the bombardment doctrine the clique championed ultimately became the foundation for separation from the Army.[4]

Olds was also an accomplished aviator and flight leader. As commander of the 2d Bombardment Group between 1937 and 1940, he led the first operational unit of B-17 Flying Fortresses and put theory into practice by overseeing the development of standard operating procedures for the heavy bomber. Olds showcased the capabilities of the new weapon by leading several highly publicized goodwill flights to South America.

Despite his advocacy for strategic bombing, during the United States' participation in World War II Olds did not command bombers in the field. Instead his major contribution to the war effort was creation and organization of the Air Corps Ferrying Command, whose task was delivery of newly produced aircraft to all parts of the globe, and which eventually became the Air Transport Command and successors. Health problems resulted in his transfer to a training command and led to his early death in 1943.

Robert Olds
Robert Olds
Robert Olds
BornJune 15, 1896
Woodside, Maryland
DiedApril 28, 1943 (aged 46)
Tucson, Arizona
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branchInsignia signal.svg Aviation Section, Signal Corps
Prop and wings.svg Air Service, United States Army
USAAC Roundel 1919-1941.svg United States Army Air Corps
US Army Air Corps Hap Arnold Wings.svg United States Army Air Forces
Years of service1917–1943
RankUS-O8 insignia.svg Major General
Commands held
AwardsDistinguished Flying Cross
RelationsRobin Olds (son)

Personal history


Henry Oldys 001
Henry Oldys, ornithologist

Olds was born "Robert Oldys" June 15, 1896, in Woodside, Maryland, to Henry Oldys[5][n 1] (born Henry Worthington Olds) and May Meigs Oldys. He was the eldest of four siblings.[6] His father was an ornithologist employed by the Division of Biological Survey of the Department of Agriculture.[7] His grandfather was Mark Lafayette Olds,[6] a former physician, infantry veteran of the Mexican–American War, and Episcopal minister of Christ Church on Capitol Hill in the District of Columbia[8] who stood on the gallows at the hanging on July 7, 1865 of the conspirators in the Abraham Lincoln assassination.[9]

The Olds family traced its roots back to Sherborne, Dorset, emigrating to America in approximately 1667. Early generations lived in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Vermont before moving to Ohio in 1820. Another paternal branch descending from the original emigrant included the automotive pioneer Ransom E. Olds. A forebear, Benjamin Olds, served in the Massachusetts militia during the American Revolution.[6] Olds' great-grandfather, Edson Baldwin Olds,[6] who served as Speaker of the Ohio Senate and as a U.S. congressman between 1849 and 1855, was a leading Peace Democrat during the American Civil War.[10] Through his mother, Olds' forebears include Revolutionary War Colonel Return Jonathan Meigs, who commanded a regiment of light infantry at the storming of the British fort at Stony Point, New York.[11]

Olds married four times. His first marriage, to Eloise Wichman Nott in Honolulu, Hawaii, on October 22, 1921,[12][13] resulted in sons Robert Jr. (Robin Olds),[14] born in 1922, and Stevan,[15] born in 1924. Eloise died in 1926 while Olds was assigned to the headquarters of the Air Service in Washington, D.C.[16] In 1928 he remarried, to Marjorie Langley, and was divorced in 1930. His third marriage, in 1933 to Helen Sterling, also resulted in two sons, Sterling ("Dusty") in 1935, and Frederick, 1936. They separated in 1939 and were divorced in 1940. His last marriage was to Nina Gore Auchincloss, daughter of Senator Thomas Gore, in June 1942.[16][17][n 2]


Olds was "personable and charismatic," and highly outspoken,[18] the latter strongly influenced by his association with General William "Billy" Mitchell.[19] Commendations and efficiency reports consistently praised him for "enthusiasm," "energy," "initiative," "drive," and attention to detail.[20] He developed a knack for generating favorable publicity during his tour in Hawaii that resulted in his often being in the public spotlight during his entire career.[21]

While noted as being skilled in the "art of diplomacy," particularly as an emissary for air power,[22] his tact sometimes failed him. His outspokenness resulted in several public rebukes, notably during the Mitchell court martial, and in flaps regarding "imprudent comments" he allegedly made during his goodwill trip to Argentina in 1938[23] and a congressional junket to Alaska in 1942.[24]

His leadership was professionally esteemed by prominent Air Force leaders and historians, several of whom wrote that but for his early death, he would have risen to four-star rank.[25][26] He was exceptionally capable of inspiring subordinates, and of delegating authority, while remaining a firm disciplinarian.[27] Of his decision-making ability, he was described as having quick reactions, sharp responses, and the "courage of his convictions."[18] His friend and "Bomber Mafia" associate, Lt. Gen. Harold L. George, wrote: "He had a brilliant mind... He could grasp instantly, vexing details which usually make up difficult problems and, grasping them, he had the priceless ability to make a decision. He did not mull over what to do—having studied the problem, having arrived at a decision, he made it at once."[28]

Friends and family noted that Olds, although a "hard-core, never-quit perfectionist,"[29] had outlets for his energies besides his work. After intense problems he would relax by playing squash or by doing aerobatics in a P-1 Hawk maintained at the base.[18] His son Robin recalled that they would share afternoons sitting on the front porch of their quarters at Langley Field, Virginia, watching planes land.[30] His home at Langley was a social gathering place for numerous aviation pioneers, war veterans, and air power advocates that included Eddie Rickenbacker, Fiorello La Guardia, Ernst Udet, Roscoe Turner, Elliott White Springs, Jimmie Mattern, and Beirne Lay. When the gatherings included his neighbor, Lt. Col. Carl Spaatz,[n 3] his son fondly noted, they often ended with singing accompanied by Olds on the piano and Spaatz on the guitar.[31]

Olds had a reputation for irascibility, part of which may have been due to arthritis, noted William H. Tunner, a subordinate at Air Corps Ferrying Command in 1941. He was often in pain but not crippled by the affliction. Tunner went on to describe Olds:

He had energy to burn, on and off the job. He loved high living, and he loved women, too, for that matter; he'd been married four times by that time. He drove himself furiously and within a year he was a major general. Within another year he was dead. He'd given all he had.[32]

Military career

Signal Corps and Air Service

Olds graduated from Central High School in Washington D.C. He enlisted in the Aviation Section, Signal Enlisted Reserve Corps on January 16, 1917, became a sergeant,[33] and entered pilot training at the Curtis Flying School, Newport News, Virginia. By the time he received his Reserve Military Aviator rating on May 15, 1917, the United States had entered World War I.[34][n 4]

On June 7, 1917, he was commissioned as a 1st lieutenant in the Signal Officers Reserve Corps.[33] His first assignment was as commander of the newly organized and untrained 17th Aero Squadron at Kelly Field, Texas, on August 2. The next day the squadron entrained for Toronto, Ontario, Canada, where they arrived August 4 to begin unit training with the Royal Flying Corps. After three weeks of recruit instruction at Leaside Aerodrome, personnel of the 17th were distributed to various locations for specialized training, while Olds and the squadron headquarters were located at Camp Borden, Ontario. Olds remained squadron commander until October 15, when he became a flying instructor at Scott Field, Illinois.[35]

In December 1917 Olds was transferred as an instructor to Ellington Field, Texas, where he advanced through various supervisory positions, beginning with solo and formation stages and progressing to Officer-In-Charge (OIC) Flying and OIC Training. He was promoted to captain on September 3, 1918,[33] and sent to France.[36]

Capt. Olds was assigned to pursuit training at the 3rd Aviation Instruction Center at Issoudun on September 25. After completing the course, he was assigned to the 7th Aviation Instruction Center at Clermont-Ferrand, where he became "Training Officer for Bombardment" and later Officer-In-Charge. On January 14, 1919, during demobilization of the American Expeditionary Force, Olds was assigned to the staff of Col. Frank P. Lahm, chief of Air Service, Second Army at Toul as flight examiner (and Lahm's pilot), a post he held until April 29. He returned to Washington, D.C. in August 1919.[36][37]

Olds transferred to Fort Ruger at Honolulu, Hawaii, in October 1919, as Air Service Operations Officer,[36] with concurrent command of the 3rd Balloon Company.[38] A reserve officer, he decided to remain in the military but needed a regular commission to avoid being demobilized by the National Defense Act of 1920, which reduced the Army by 50%. Air Service commanders in Hawaii submitted three letters of recommendation on his behalf, he passed the requisite qualifying examinations, and on July 1, 1920, when the law took effect, Olds received commissions as 1st lieutenant and captain of Air Service of the Regular Army.[39][n 5]

In July 1921 Olds was assigned operations officer of the 5th Observation Group at Luke Field. He became its commander from April 12, 1922 to May 20, 1922, and again (now the 5th Composite Group) from November 10, 1922, to April 13, 1923.[40] During his Hawaiian tour, Olds was credited with the first night flight over Oahu on June 30, 1920;[41] the first flight to Molokai, on August 18, 1920;[39] and the first flight over Haleakalā crater on August 25, flying de Havilland DH-4Bs.[42]

Olds transferred in 1923 to the Office of the Chief of Air Service in Washington, D.C., where he worked in the War Plans Division, often as an aide to the Assistant Chief of the Air Service, Gen. Mitchell.[43] In October 1925 he assisted Mitchell during the Morrow Board hearings, and the following month at Mitchell's court martial.[44] With his career conceivably in jeopardy, Olds testified on November 10, describing the dangerous conditions under which the Air Service was forced to operate, and a lack of understanding of aviation requirements on the part of non-flying senior staff and commanders. Although mocked and questioned with sarcastic hostility during cross-examination by the nine ground forces generals comprising the panel, Olds "held his own".[45]

Air Corps

"A determined air armada loaded with modern agencies of destruction, in readiness within range of our great centers of population and industry, may eventually prove to be a more convincing argument against war than all the Hague and Geneva Conventions put together."
Capt. Robert Olds, testimony before the Howell Commission, November 1934[46]

In July 1926 the Air Service was renamed the Air Corps by Act of Congress as a compromise alternative to creating an independent or autonomous air force. Olds continued his staff duties in the Office of the Chief of the Air Corps.

In September 1927 he was assigned to Langley Field, where he would spend eleven of the next thirteen years. He became a student in the eighth class of the Air Corps Tactical School. Among his 23 classmates were Majors Frank M. Andrews, George H. Brett, and Willis H. Hale, all of whom would become senior leaders of the Army Air Forces, and John F. Curry (one of his sponsors to the Regular Army in 1920), who would become school commandant several years later.[47]

Following his completion of the course, Olds was invited in July 1928 to become an instructor at ACTS. In the next class was 1st Lt. Kenneth N. Walker, who had also been a Mitchell aide, and in 1929 he too became an ACTS instructor.[19] Together they served as the Bombardment Section of the ACTS faculty. Between 1929 and 1931, when the school moved from Langley to Maxwell Field, Alabama, they were responsible for the ascendancy of bombardment (which existed mainly in theory and undeveloped technology) over pursuit as the primary emphasis of both the ACTS curriculum and the development of Air Corps doctrine.[2] Haywood S. Hansell, who with Olds, Walker, and six others would become a clique known as the "Bomber Mafia,"[3] wrote of them:

Bob Olds and Ken Walker together were dangerously close to being a "critical mass." Both were almost explosively intense and dynamic. Under them the Bombardment Section forged ahead...They had adopted Ken's contention that bombardment was to air power what the infantry was to the Army-the basic arm..."A well planned and well conducted bombardment attack, once launched, cannot be stopped."[18]

When ACTS relocated to Alabama in June 1931, Olds remained at Langley as Operations Officer to the 2d Bombardment Group to September 1933.[48] He then was selected to attend the two years' course of the Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.[33][49][n 6] His role as an air power advocate continued to expand when in November 1934 he was one of six current and former ACTS instructors invited by name to appear before the Federal Aviation Commission. Chaired by Clark Howell,[50] the commission was created by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to review all aspects of U.S. aviation and became the sixteenth board since 1919 to examine the military's role in it.[51] Olds' appearance before the commission was an act of moral courage, inasmuch as the General Staff tried to discourage the instructors' appearance by refusing to reimburse their expenses.[52][n 7]

Boeing Y1B-17 in flight
Boeing YB-17 of 2nd BG, 1937

Following completion of CGSS on June 21, 1935, Olds was promoted to major (temporary on June 30 and permanent on August 1).[33] He returned to Langley, where the command staff of the General Headquarters Air Force was stationed, and joined it as Chief of Inspection Section under GHQAF commander Maj. Gen. Frank Andrews, the driving force behind acquisition of the B-17 Flying Fortress.[53] On March 1, 1937, Olds was promoted to lieutenant colonel and selected to command the 2nd BG, which was about to receive the first twelve operational B-17s.[33][54][n 8] To fulfill a directive from Andrews to build a capability of conducting bombing missions anywhere in the world and in any weather, Olds' training emphasized competency in instrument landings and takeoffs, and long range navigation.[55]

Olds' command tour at Langley developed standard operating procedures and tactics for the B-17, and was marked by numerous highly publicized exercises and goodwill missions. In August 1937 the group located and attacked the target ship USS Utah off California, followed in May 1938 by interception of the Italian liner Rex 620 miles at sea, both under adverse weather conditions.[56] In January 1938, he made two record-breaking non-stop transcontinental flights between Langley and March Field, California, completing the 2,317 miles in just over 11 hours on the return flight.[57] Olds personally led two goodwill flights to South America, first to Buenos Aires, Argentina, in February 1938 (for which he was awarded the Mackay Trophy and the Distinguished Flying Cross)[58][59] and next to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in November 1939. A third to Bogota, Colombia was assigned to a squadron commander. In August 1938 the 2nd BG received the only Boeing XB-15 bomber built, and the following February Olds dispatched it on an earthquake relief mission to Santiago, Chile.[60]

Olds ended his tour with the 2 BG by developing plans to reduce unit costs of new B-17s to facilitate procurement of 42 more bombers, and to train new aircrews without any reduction of standards in the face of an estimated expansion rate of 800%.[61] Olds' next assignment was to the Plans Division of the Office of Chief of the Air Corps on January 5, 1940, working for Spaatz, who had been promoted to brigadier general.[62] Olds advanced to colonel on October 16, 1940.[33] While working in the Plans Division, he received a suggestion from Nancy Love, a woman aviator (and wife of an Air Corps Reserve friend, 1st Lt. Robert Love), that he give serious consideration of the use of women pilots to ferry new aircraft from the factory in case of war. Olds replied by asking her to provide him with a list of women pilots with commercial pilot ratings.[63]

Meanwhile, and until the December 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, Olds, together with Army Corps of Engineers Colonel later General Lucius D. Clay, selected construction sites for 457 new airports, which would form the nucleus of America's civil aviation network.[64]

After passage of the Lend Lease Act in March 1941, the Air Corps was assigned to expedite the delivery of bombers to the Royal Air Force in Great Britain. Maj. Gen. Henry H. Arnold established the Air Corps Ferrying Command on May 28, 1941, and selected Olds to organize it, reporting directly to Arnold.[65]

Olds selected a staff that included Col. Caleb V. Haynes, his pilot on the Rex interception, as his chief of staff and Major William H. Tunner as adjutant and chief of personnel. Olds developed a plan for expansion of three airfields in the United States to handle the movement of a thousand planes a month. Foreseeing a role in providing air transportation of personnel and cargo between the United States and the war zones, he drew up two ferry routes for courier-passenger service: a northern route to Great Britain via Greenland and Iceland, called the "Arnold Line" by the British,[66] and a southern route through Brazil to Africa and after the United States entered the war, to the Middle and Far East. The southern route was pioneered for the Ferrying Command by a subsidiary of Pan American Airways, which had developed the airfields along the route as an agent of the U.S. government in 1940-41.[67]

Passenger operations on the northern route began July 1, 1941, its first flight made by Haynes,[66] and when the operation was suspended in October to winterize the transports and improve facilities, use of the southern route began on November 14.[68] Movement of combat aircraft by the Ferrying Command beyond North America using the southern route began November 20. All of this activity in 1941 gave the United States a head start in developing the aerial lines of communication for its own forces that began in 1942, when the route was adopted for year-round movement of aircraft and units to the combat theaters, prepared, briefed and supported by the Ferrying Command.[69][70]

Army Air Forces and World War II

When the United States entered the war, Olds immediately implemented a previously-prepared plan to use civil transport pilots to replace reserve military aviators recalled to their combat commands. His staff also drew up and put into action a plan to reorganize and expand the command.[71] Olds was promoted to brigadier general on January 16, 1942,[33] and personally handled the successful negotiations with neutral Brazil for the use of Natal as a key intermediate point.[72] In its first nine months, the command delivered over 7,100 airplanes to their pick-up points.[27]

The issue of using women pilots to ferry aircraft was revived by entry into the war. After first corresponding with Jacqueline Cochran in January 1942, Olds submitted a plan to Arnold proposing their use in a civil service status while fully integrating them into the Ferrying Command with male civilian pilots. The plan, however, had not been requested or endorsed by Arnold, who shelved it at the demand of Cochran, who opposed any plan that did not make female pilots commissioned officers commanded by women and wanted no official action taken while she was in Great Britain with her own group of prospective women pilots.[73] By June, Olds was no longer in charge of air transport but his former staff became further involved when Nancy Love was introduced to Tunner, who as colonel in charge of ACFC's Domestic Division was responsible for acquiring civilian ferry pilots. At his direction Love drew up a plan similar to Olds' that Tunner forwarded to Arnold, who approved it.[n 9] As a result, the Women's Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron (WAFS), a civilian organization using women pilots already identified as qualified by Love, was created as a part of the Air Transport Command in September, just as Cochran returned from Britain. She was incensed, and Arnold immediately authorized creation of a second organization (under Cochran), the Women's Flying Training Detachment, to provide a source of new ferry pilots. In August 1943, the two organizations merged to establish the Women Airforce Service Pilots, better known as WASPs.[74]

Olds' first heart attack took place in March 1942, resulting in his replacement in command by Harold L. George.[75] Olds returned to duty on April 25, 1942, when he was made commander of III Bomber Command.[76] However that assignment lasted only two weeks, and he became commanding general of the Second Air Force effective May 14, 1942,[77] with promotion to major general on May 25.[33] Olds moved his headquarters from Spokane, Washington, to a forward location at Davis-Monthan Field, Arizona, as Second Air Force expanded into a massive training establishment.[24]

Early in 1943 Olds was diagnosed with pericardial disease[78] and Libman-Sacks endocarditis.[79] He required extensive hospitalization beginning February 25, 1943, was placed in temporary retirement, then suffered a second heart attack and pneumonia.[24] His sons Robin and Stevan, both cadets at the United States Military Academy, were flown by B-17 to Tucson and were present when he died on April 28.[80] Time Magazine reported that his ashes were "dead-marched into a Flying Fortress" at Davis Monthan Field and dispersed over the nearby mountains.[81][82]

General Curtis E. LeMay said of Olds:

During my 35 years of service, I've been fortunate in coming in contact with... practically all (of the leaders) of the Air Force during that period, and we've had a great number of very good ones. All of them of course, have made an impact, not only with me, but on everyone else that was in the Air Force at the time. If I had to single out any one, I would say that Robert Olds made the greatest impact.[83]

Awards decorations, and honors

Maj. Gen. Robert Olds received the following awards and decorations:[33]

Command Pilot
  Combat Observer

Bronze oak leaf cluster
Distinguished Flying Cross ribbon
Distinguished Flying Cross (with oak leaf cluster)

World War I Victory Medal ribbon
  World War I Victory Medal

World War I Victory Medal ribbon

American Defense Service Medal ribbon
  American Defense Service Medal

American Defense Service Medal ribbon

American Campaign Medal ribbon
  American Campaign Medal

American Campaign Medal ribbon

World War II Victory Medal ribbon
  World War II Victory Medal (posthumous)

World War II Victory Medal ribbon

BRA Order of the Southern Cross - Officer BAR
  Officer, Order of the Southern Cross (Brazil)

BRA Order of the Southern Cross - Officer BAR

Olds received the 1938 Harmon Trophy,[84] the 1939 Mackay Trophy on behalf of the 2nd Bomb Group's flight to Argentina,[58] and the bronze medal of the International League of Aviators in 1941 for his "contribution to aviation" during the goodwill flights.[85]


In April 1944, the USAAF acquired six Liberty ships for conversion to floating aircraft repair depots. The SS Daniel E. Garrett was renamed Major General Robert Olds. Operated by the Army Transport Service, it deployed to the Western Pacific in December 1944 as the base for the 1st Aircraft Repair Unit (Floating).[86][87]

The Major General Robert Olds Award, sponsored by the United States Air Force's Air Mobility Command, is presented annually during graduation week at the United States Air Force Academy (USAFA) to the most outstanding graduating cadet majoring in International Affairs. The award, a sculpture of an eagle and fledglings, procured with AMC appropriated funds, is administered by the USAFA Cadet Awards Council.[88][89]


  1. ^ Henry Oldys changed the spelling of the family surname from "Olds" to "Oldys" (still pronounced "Olds") before Robert's birth, apparently in reference to an ancestral spelling. Olds used this spelling until 1931, when he reverted to the original. To avoid confusion, the name "Olds" is used throughout this article.
  2. ^ Mrs. Auchincloss had also married multiple times, with her first marriage some 20 years earlier to Lt. Gene Vidal, a fellow Air Service pilot of Olds, a member of President Franklin Roosevelt's administration, and Gore Vidal's father.
  3. ^ When Spaatz elected to legally change the spelling of his surname from "Spatz" to "Spaatz" at the urging of his wife Ruth, Olds recommended to him the same attorney he had used for his own name change.
  4. ^ Olds received Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) Aviator Certificate 8803 at the same time as his RMA rating.
  5. ^ The 1920 National Defense Act had a provision allowing officers who earned Air Service rank in the AEF to retain it, thus automatically promoting Olds to captain.
  6. ^ Kenneth Walker was Olds' classmate at the two-years' course.
  7. ^ The General Staff quickly reversed that decision. It authorized the use of Army aircraft for travel and allowed per diem from the Howell commission, but the group still testified amidst concerns for their careers.
  8. ^ Andrews chose Olds to supervise the program to avoid any mistakes with the new bomber. On December 7, 1936, before delivery to the Air Corps, the first YB-17 nosed over during landing, triggering a Congressional investigation that threatened cancellation of the program.
  9. ^ Tunner proposed commissioning Love, but the proposal was rejected.
  1. ^ Zamzow 2008, p. 1
  2. ^ a b Zamzow 2008, p. 19
  3. ^ a b Boyne & "The Tactical School"
  4. ^ Shiner 1997, pp. 133–134
  5. ^ Zamzow 2008, p. 7, (note 1)
  6. ^ a b c d Olds, D. 2002, entry 9201, "Henry Worthington Olds"
  7. ^ "With the Rambler (Pierce cemetery)". The Evening Star, March 5, 1916. Congressional Cemetery. Archived from the original on October 3, 2008. Retrieved 12 May 2009.
  8. ^ Joseph Olds. The Nation Cyclopaedia of American Biography. Google Books. 1895. Retrieved 10 May 2009.
  9. ^ Robertson, Nan (1994). "Christ Church+Washington Parish A Brief History" (PDF). Washington Parish. Retrieved 12 May 2009.
  10. ^ "Olds, Edson Baldwin (1802–1869)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved 12 May 2009.
  11. ^ Olds, R. 2010, p. 6
  12. ^ "Hqrs. 5th Group (Obs.) Luke Field, H.T., Oct. 31, Cont'd". Air Service News Letter. V (December 9): 15. 1921. Archived from the original on 2016-01-26. Retrieved 2012-12-24.
  13. ^ Married. 70th Annual Report of the Hawaiian Missionary Children's Society 1922. Google books. 1922. Retrieved 12 May 2009.
  14. ^ Zamzow 2008, p. 12
  15. ^ Olds 2010, pp. 16, 114, 116–119, 383, 396 for spelling.
  16. ^ a b Zamzow 2008, pp. 18, 86
  17. ^ Olds, CAPT. Frederick A. "Brigadier General Robin Olds, USAF (ret), Passes Away". TMP. Retrieved 12 May 2009.
  18. ^ a b c d Hansell, Haywood S. "AWPD-1, The Process". Air University, USAF. Retrieved 10 May 2009.
  19. ^ a b Zamzow 2008, p. 18
  20. ^ Zamzow 2008, pp. 8–9, 21–24
  21. ^ Zamzow 2008, p. 15
  22. ^ Zamzow 2008, pp. 5, 88
  23. ^ Zamzow 2008, p. 51
  24. ^ a b c Zamzow 2008, p. 85
  25. ^ Boyne & Aces in Command, p. 146
  26. ^ Zamzow 2008, p. 2 (note 1)
  27. ^ a b Zamzow 2008, p. 82
  28. ^ Zamzow 2008, p. 37
  29. ^ Anderson 2004, p. 20
  30. ^ Anderson 2004, pp. 10–11, 187
  31. ^ Olds 2010, p. 6
  32. ^ Tunner 1964, p. 19
  33. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Fogerty 1955, p. 188
  34. ^ Zamzow 2008, p. 7
  35. ^ Zamzow 2008, pp. 7–8
  36. ^ a b c Zamzow 2008, p. 8
  37. ^ Lahm 1970, pp. 169, 181, 204
  38. ^ Clay 2010, p. 1561
  39. ^ a b Zamzow 2008, p. 9
  40. ^ Clay 2010, p. 1299
  41. ^ "This Week in PACAF and USAF History" (PDF). USAF Pacific Air Forces. 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 July 2011. Retrieved 13 May 2009.
  42. ^ Zamzow 2008, p. 10
  43. ^ Zamzow 2008, p. 13
  44. ^ Zamzow 2008, p. 14
  45. ^ Waller 2004, p. 179
  46. ^ Tate 1998, p. 147
  47. ^ Finney 1955, p. 68
  48. ^ Zamzow 2008, p. 22
  49. ^ Zamzow 2008, p. 24
  50. ^ Zamzow 2008, p. 27
  51. ^ Zamzow 2008, p. 25
  52. ^ Tate 1998, pp. 148–149
  53. ^ Zamzow 2008, p. 30
  54. ^ Zamzow 2008, pp. 34–35
  55. ^ Zamzow 2008, pp. 35–36
  56. ^ Zamzow 2008, pp. 39–42, 47–48
  57. ^ Zamzow 2008, pp. 42–43
  58. ^ a b "MacKay trophy: 1930-1939 winners". National Aeronautics Association. Retrieved 13 May 2009.
  59. ^ Air Corps News Letter (May 15, 1938), Vol. XXI No. 10, Washington D.C.: Office of the Chief of the Air Corps, p. 8
  60. ^ Maurer & Part 1, entry "2nd Bombardment Group"
  61. ^ Zamzow 2008, pp. 55–56
  62. ^ Zamzow 2008, p. 59
  63. ^ Rickman 2008, p. 63
  64. ^ "After I took the job I made direct contact with Colonel Robert Olds of the Army Air Forces, who was one of our great bombing experts, and I worked out with him the location of the airports we put into the program." in Lucius D. Clay: An American Life by Jean Edward Smith, New York: Henry, Holt & Company, 1990.
  65. ^ Zamzow 2008, p. 66
  66. ^ a b Carter 1947, p. 318
  67. ^ Carter 1947, pp. 320–323
  68. ^ Carter 1947, p. 327
  69. ^ Carter 1947, p. 328
  70. ^ Zamzow 2008, pp. 66–69
  71. ^ Zamzow 2008, pp. 75–76
  72. ^ Zamzow 2008, p. 78
  73. ^ Rickman (2008), pp. 68-69.
  74. ^ Stewart-Smith 1981, pp. 1–2
  75. ^ Zamzow 2008, p. 80
  76. ^ Maurer & Part 8, entry, "III Bomber Command"
  77. ^ Maurer & Part 8, entry, "Second Air Force"
  78. ^ Anderson 2004, p. 187
  79. ^ Zamzow 2008, p. 85 (note 5)
  80. ^ Anderson 2004, p. 188
  81. ^ "Died. Major General Robert Olds". Time Magazine. May 10, 1943. Retrieved 14 May 2009.
  82. ^ Olds 2010, p. 17
  83. ^ Zamzow 2008, pp. 87–88
  84. ^ Zamzow 2008, p. 54
  85. ^ "Col. Olds Receives Aviation League's Medal For Good-Will Flights to Latin America". New York Times. July 9, 1941. Retrieved 14 May 2009.
  86. ^ Felknor, Bruce. "Top Secret Project Ivory Soap--Aircraft Repair Ships". Retrieved 13 May 2009.
  87. ^ Baker, Sue (1998). "Memorial dedicated". Airman. USAF. Archived from the original on 22 August 1999. Retrieved 13 May 2009.
  88. ^ Air Force Instruction 36-2805 (29 Sept 2006) 1.4.3.
  89. ^ Zamzow 2008, p. 35


  • Anderson, Lars (2004). The All-Americans. New York: St. Martin's Press. ISBN 0-312-30887-6.
  • Boyne, Walter J. (2001). Aces in Command: Fighter Pilots as Combat Leaders. Brassey's, Inc. ISBN 1-57488-401-8.
— --. "The Tactical School". AIR FORCE Magazine. Retrieved 27 July 2008. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
---- Part 8 Air Force Combat Units in World War II

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2nd Operations Group

The 2d Operations Group (2 OG) is the flying component of the United States Air Force 2d Bomb Wing, assigned to the Air Force Global Strike Command Eighth Air Force. The group is stationed at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana.

2 OG is one of two Air Force Global Strike Command groups to fly the B-52H Stratofortess. Its mission is to protect the United States and further its global interests by providing devastating combat capability.

The group is a successor organization to 2d Bombardment Group, one of the 15 original combat air groups formed by the Army before World War II. It is the oldest bomb group of the Air Force, having fought on the Western Front during World War I, entering combat on 12 September 1918. After the war, it participated in Brigadier General Billy Mitchell's 1921 off-shore bombing test. During World War II the group engaged in combat from bases in North Africa and Italy flying B-17 Flying Fortress.

In the postwar era, the 2d Bombardment Group was one of the first USAAF units assigned to the Strategic Air Command on 1 July 1947, prior to the establishment of the United States Air Force. Equipped with low-hour B-29 Superfortress surplus World War II aircraft, the group was inactivated in 1952 when the parent wing adopted the Tri-Deputate organization and assigned all of the group's squadrons directly to the wing.

Reactivated as the 2d Operations Group in 1991 when the 2d Bomb Wing adopted the USAF Objective organization plan.

Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress

The Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress is a four-engined heavy bomber developed in the 1930s for the United States Army Air Corps (USAAC). Competing against Douglas and Martin for a contract to build 200 bombers, the Boeing entry (prototype Model 299/XB-17) outperformed both competitors and exceeded the air corps' performance specifications. Although Boeing lost the contract (to the Douglas B-18 Bolo) because the prototype crashed, the air corps ordered 13 more B-17s for further evaluation. From its introduction in 1938, the B-17 Flying Fortress evolved through numerous design advances, becoming the third-most produced bomber of all time, behind the four-engined B-24 and the multirole, twin-engined Ju 88.

The B-17 was primarily employed by the USAAF in the daylight strategic bombing campaign of World War II against German industrial and military targets. The United States Eighth Air Force, based at many airfields in central, eastern and southern England, and the Fifteenth Air Force, based in Italy, complemented the RAF Bomber Command's nighttime area bombing in the Combined Bomber Offensive to help secure air superiority over the cities, factories and battlefields of Western Europe in preparation for the invasion of France in 1944. The B-17 also participated to a lesser extent in the War in the Pacific, early in World War II, where it conducted raids against Japanese shipping and airfields.From its prewar inception, the USAAC (by June 1941, the USAAF) promoted the aircraft as a strategic weapon; it was a relatively fast, high-flying, long-range bomber with heavy defensive armament at the expense of bombload. It developed a reputation for toughness based upon stories and photos of badly damaged B-17s safely returning to base. The B-17 dropped more bombs than any other U.S. aircraft in World War II. Of approximately 1.5 million tons of bombs dropped on Nazi Germany and its occupied territories by U.S. aircraft, over 640,000 tons were dropped from B-17s. In addition to its role as a bomber, the B-17 was also employed as a transport, antisubmarine aircraft, drone controller, and search-and-rescue aircraft.

As of October 2019, 9 aircraft remain airworthy, though none of them were ever flown in combat. Dozens more are in storage or on static display. The oldest of these is a D-series flown in combat in the Pacific and the Caribbean.

Carl Spaatz

Carl Andrew Spaatz (born Spatz; June 28, 1891 – July 14, 1974), nicknamed "Tooey", was an American World War II general. As commander of Strategic Air Forces in Europe in 1944, he successfully pressed for the bombing of the enemy's oil production facilities as a priority over other targets. He became Chief of Staff of the newly formed United States Air Force in 1947.

Distinguished Flying Cross (United States)

The Distinguished Flying Cross is a military decoration awarded to any officer or enlisted member of the United States Armed Forces who distinguishes himself or herself in support of operations by "heroism or extraordinary achievement while participating in an aerial flight, subsequent to November 11, 1918."

Edson B. Olds

Edson Baldwin Olds (June 3, 1802 – January 24, 1869) was a three-term U.S. Representative from Ohio. During the American Civil War, he was a leading member of the Peace Democrats. He was the great-grandfather of United States Army Air Forces Maj. Gen. Robert Olds, and the great-great grandfather of United States Air Force Brig. Gen. Robin Olds.

Ferry flying

Ferry flying is the flying of aircraft for the purpose of returning to base, delivery to customer when new, moving from one base of operations to another or moving to or from a maintenance facility for repairs, overhaul or other work.An aircraft may need to be moved without passengers from one airport to another at the end of that day's operations in order to satisfy the next day's timetable – these are also known as positioning flights. They may also be necessary following a major weather event or other similar disruption which causes multiple cancellations across an airline's network resulting in many aircraft and crew being 'out of position' for normal operations; the 2010 eruptions of Eyjafjallajökull or the mass evacuation of US airspace following the 9/11 attacks being significant examples of this. Some airlines permit fare-paying passengers to travel on positioning flights.

Gore Vidal

Eugene Luther Gore Vidal (; born Eugene Louis Vidal, October 3, 1925 – July 31, 2012) was an American writer and public intellectual known for his patrician manner, epigrammatic wit, and polished style of writing.Vidal was born into a political family; his maternal grandfather, Thomas Pryor Gore, served as United States senator from Oklahoma (1907–1921 and 1931–1937). Vidal himself was a Democratic Party politician who twice sought elected office; first to the United States House of Representatives (New York, 1960), then to the U.S. Senate (California, 1982).As a political commentator and essayist, Vidal's principal subject was the history of the United States and its society, especially how the militaristic foreign policy reduced the country to a decadent empire. His political and cultural essays were published in The Nation, the New Statesman, the New York Review of Books, and Esquire magazines. As a public intellectual, Gore Vidal's topical debates on sex, politics, and religion with other intellectuals and writers occasionally turned into quarrels with the likes of William F. Buckley Jr. and Norman Mailer. Vidal thought all men and women are potentially bisexual.As a novelist, Vidal explored the nature of corruption in public and private life. His polished and erudite style of narration readily evoked the time and place of his stories, and perceptively delineated the psychology of his characters. His third novel, The City and the Pillar (1948), offended the literary, political, and moral sensibilities of conservative book reviewers, the plot being about a dispassionately presented male homosexual relationship. In the historical novel genre, Vidal re-created the imperial world of Julian the Apostate (r. AD 361–63) in Julian (1964). Julian was the Roman emperor who used general religious toleration to re-establish pagan polytheism to counter the political subversion of Christian monotheism. In social satire, Myra Breckinridge (1968) explores the mutability of gender role and sexual orientation as being social constructs established by social mores. In Burr (1973) and Lincoln (1984), the protagonist is presented as "A Man of the People" and as "A Man" in a narrative exploration of how the public and private facets of personality affect the national politics of the United States.

Kenneth Walker

Brigadier General Kenneth Newton Walker (17 July 1898 – 5 January 1943) was a United States Army aviator and a United States Army Air Forces general who exerted a significant influence on the development of airpower doctrine. He posthumously received the Medal of Honor in World War II.

Walker joined the United States Army in 1917, after the American entry into World War I. He trained as an aviator and became a flying instructor. In 1920, after the end of the war, he received a commission in the Regular Army. After service in various capacities, Walker graduated from the Air Corps Tactical School in 1929, and then served as an instructor there. He supported the creation of a separate air organization that is not subordinate to other military branches. He was a forceful advocate of the efficacy of strategic bombardment, publishing articles on the subject and becoming part of a clique known as the "Bomber Mafia" that argued for the primacy of bombardment over other forms of military aviation. He advanced the notion that fighters could not prevent a bombing attack. He participated in the Air Corps Tactical School's development of the doctrine of industrial web theory, which called for precision attacks against carefully selected critical industrial targets. Shortly before the United States entered World War II, Walker became one of four officers assigned to the Air War Plans Division, which was tasked with developing a production requirements plan for the war in the air. Together, these officers devised the AWPD-1 plan, a blueprint for the imminent air war against Germany that called for the creation of an enormous air force to win the war through strategic bombardment.

In 1942, Walker was promoted to brigadier general and transferred to the Southwest Pacific, where he became Commanding General, V Bomber Command, Fifth Air Force. The Southwest Pacific contained few strategic targets, relegating the bombers to the role of interdicting supply lines and supporting the ground forces. This resulted in a doctrinal clash between Walker and Lieutenant General George C. Kenney, an attack aviator, over the proper method of employing bombers. Walker frequently flew combat missions over New Guinea, for which he received the Silver Star. On 5 January 1943, he was shot down and killed leading a daylight bombing raid over Rabaul, for which he was awarded the Medal of Honor.

List of mayors of Rochester, Minnesota

People who have served as mayor of Rochester, Minnesota.

Nancy Harkness Love

Nancy Harkness Love (February 14, 1914 – October 22, 1976), born Hannah Lincoln Harkness, was an American pilot and commander during World War II. She earned her pilot's license at age 16. She worked as a test pilot and air racer in the 1930s. During World War II she convinced William H. Tunner to look to set up a group of female pilots to ferry aircraft from factories to air bases. This proposal was eventually approved as the Women's Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron. Love commanded this unit and later all ferrying operations in the newly formed Women Airforce Service Pilots. She was awarded the Air Medal for her work during the war and was appointed lieutenant colonel in the US Air Force Reserve in 1948.

Nina Auchincloss Straight

Nina Gore Auchincloss Straight (formerly Steers, born January 10, 1937) is an American author, journalist, and socialite. She is the mother of writer/director Burr Steers and artist Hugh Auchincloss Steers, half-sister of Gore Vidal, step-sister of First Lady Jacqueline Onassis and socialite Lee Radziwill.

Nina S. Gore

Nina S. Olds (July 25, 1903 – April 3, 1978) was an American woman known for her three marriages, to Eugene Vidal, Hugh D. Auchincloss, and Robert Olds, as well as her children, authors Gore Vidal and Nina Auchincloss.


Olds may refer to:

Senior citizens

Oldsmobile, a brand of automobile manufactured in the US from 1897 to 2004

F. E. Olds, an American brass musical instrument manufacturing company named after its founder

Parma, Ohio

Parma is a city in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, United States, located on the southern edge of Cleveland.

As of the 2010 census it is the seventh largest city in the state of Ohio and the second largest city in Cuyahoga County after Cleveland.

Robert E. Olds

Robert Edwin Olds (October 22, 1875 - November 25, 1932) was an American diplomat and lawyer who served as the United States Under Secretary of State from 1927 to 1928.

Robin Olds

Robin Olds (July 14, 1922 – June 14, 2007) was an American fighter pilot and general officer in the U.S. 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.

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.S. 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. Olds expressed his philosophy regarding fighter pilots in the quote: "There are pilots and there are pilots; with the good ones, it is inborn. You can't teach it. If you are a fighter pilot, you have to be willing to take risks."

SS Rebecca Lukens

SS Rebecca Lukens was a Liberty ship built in the United States during World War II. She was named after Rebecca Lukens, the owner and manager of the iron and steel mill which became the Lukens Steel Company of Coatesville, Pennsylvania. She was transferred to the Army Transport Service (ATS) and renamed Major General Herbert A. Dargue after Herbert Dargue, a pioneering military aviator in the United States Army.

SS Thomas LeValley

SS Thomas LeValley was a Liberty ship built in the United States during World War II. She was named after Thomas LeValley. She was transferred to the Army Transport Service (ATS) and later renamed Major General Walter R. Weaver after Major General Walter R. Weaver, a graduate of Virginia Military Institute that went on to serve in several prominent commands during World War I and World War II, in the United States Army Air Forces.

Suffield, Connecticut

Suffield is a town in Hartford County, Connecticut, United States. It was once within the boundaries of Massachusetts. The town is located in the Connecticut River Valley with the town of Enfield neighboring to the east. In 1900, 3,521 people lived in Suffield; as of the 2010 census, the population was 15,735. The town center is a census-designated place listed as Suffield Depot in U.S. Census records.

Bordering Massachusetts, Suffield is part of the Springfield, Massachusetts NECTA. Suffield is only 8 miles (13 km) from Springfield, and is more oriented toward it than toward Connecticut's capital of Hartford, which lies 16 miles (26 km) to the south.

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