Greatest Fighter Pilot Ever?

Greatest Fighter Pilot Ever? How good was Robin Olds? Legend has it he was the best ace in Vietnam and possibly the best ace ever to fly for the United States. Of course, World War 2 had plenty of stars as well, but does Robin Old rank above them?

During Vietnam Robin Olds flew a number of planes including the P-80, F-86, F-101 and F-4s.

Did you know that in 1967 the North Vietnamese put a bounty of $25,000 on Col. Robin Olds, that’s nearly $200K in today’s money!?!

Due to such risks the Pentagon decided to relieve Olds as soon as he got his fifth air-to-air victory (he had four at the time). 

F-16 Fighter Pilot & Squadron Leader Captain Jeff Orr – Rebellion Research

However, rather than leaving his wing by becoming an ace, Olds did the exact opposite. On at least a dozen occasions Olds setup kills and let his wingmen shoot at the MiGs. 

Not to forget his wingman, Chappie James, a capable aviator and fighter pilot in his own right. The duo was named Blackman and Robin.

Keeping his men alive by being there and leading combat missions was more important to him than kills or careerism. A true fighter leader.

Moreover, the best wing commander the Air Force ever and he should be awarded the Medal of Honor.

In addition, his book ‘fighter pilot’ is a fun read, Olds’ combat report for a famous dogfight in WW2 below:

Still in a shallow dive, I observed a P-51 and an Me 109 going round and round. It seemed that the 38 needed help so I started down. At about 4,000 ft (1,200 m), the Jerry, still way out of my range, turned under me and slightly to the right. I rolled over on my back, following him and gave him an ineffective burst at long range. By this time I was traveling in excess of 500 mph (800 km/h). My left window blew out, scaring the hell out of me. I thought I had been hit by some of the ground fire I had observed in the vicinity, I regained control of the aircraft and pulled out above a wheat field.

We tried to contact the flight to get myself recognized, but observed an Me 109 making a pass at me from about seven o’clock high. I broke left as well as my plane could and the Jerry overshot, I straightened out and gave him a burst. He chandelled steeply to the left and I shot some more. He passed right over me and I slipped over in an Immelmann. As I straightened out at the top, I saw the pilot bail out.

Olds would become a “triple ace”, having a combined total of 16 victories in World War II and the Vietnam War. Olds would retire in 1973 as a brigadier general.
“Wolfpack” aviators of the 8th Tactical Fighter Wing carry their commanding officer, Colonel Robin Olds, following his return from his last combat mission over North Vietnam, on 23 September 1967.
Air Force Cross

Air Force Distinguished Service Medal (2)
Silver Star (4)
Legion of Merit
Distinguished Flying Cross (6)
Air Medal (40)
Distinguished Flying Cross (United Kingdom)
Croix de guerre (France)

Greatest Fighter Pilot Ever?

Military History | WWI, WWII, Vietnam War | Rebellion Research

Of course, many argue that the greatest fighter pilot was the Red Baron, Germany’s Erich Hartmann. However, you can’t compare WW1 flight to modern flight. Hartmann does hold history’s all-time leading aerial victories.