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.
Olds expressed his philosophy regarding fighter pilots in the quote: "There are pilots and there are pilots; with the good ones, it is inborn. If you are a fighter pilot, you have to be willing to take risks." Olds was born Robert Oldys, Jr.
His father was Captain (later Major General) Robert Oldys (later Olds), Olds virtually made daily contact with the small group of officers who would lead the US Army Air Forces in World War II (one neighbor was Major Carl Spaatz, destined to become the first Chief of Staff of the USAF), On November 10, 1925, his father appeared as a witness on behalf of Billy Mitchell during Mitchell's court-martial in Washington, D. He brought three-year-old Robin with him to court, dressed in an Air Service uniform, and posed with him for newspaper photographers before testifying.
His father was made commander of the pioneer B-17 Flying Fortress 2nd Bombardment Group at Langley Field on March 1, 1937, and promoted to lieutenant colonel on March 7.
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.
This training ended a year later by Christmas 1942. Eichelberger, replaced the head coach (an Army officer) with Earl "Red" Blaik, a 1920 graduate and head coach at Dartmouth, who had recruited Olds in 1939.
Olds returned to West Point, hoping to graduate early and see action in the war. Olds played on the varsity college football team in both 19.
Olds attended Hampton High School where he was elected president of his class three successive years, and played varsity high school football on a team that won the state championship of Virginia in 1937.