Jump to content
The Wifcon Forums and Blogs

Recommended Posts

“Now, I know advice is cheap and often suspect, but here goes. You’ve had a good start and there’s a long road in front of you, but always remember this: Your most difficult problem will be the people. In the military, they mostly divide themselves into four major categories: There are the ‘me-firsters’, the ‘me-tooers’ the ‘deadwood,’ and the ‘dedicated.’ You are among the minority, the ‘dedicated.’ Stick with them, search them out, and work hard to be worthy of their company. You won’t be popular with a lot of your bosses who act dedicated but really aren’t, and that can make life difficult at times. Beware of the ‘deadwood.’ Most of them mean well and, in their own way, try hard, are loyal, and even useful. But too often they’ll botch things up and get you and your outfit in trouble.

Watch out for the ‘me-tooers.’ These guys will tell you whatever they think you want to hear. They borrow thoughts and ideas from others and present them to you as though they were their own. They are opportunists who look for every avenue to advance themselves, without sticking their own necks out. They ride someone’s coattails and try to make themselves indispensible to the boss. Believe me, they are not to be trusted. You don’t want yes-men around you. But you can’t always avoid them.

The worst and the most dangerous are the ‘me-firsters.’ Most of them are intelligent and totally ruthless. They use the service for their own gain and will not hesitate to stick a knife in your back at the slightest indication you might stand in their way. They seem arrogant, but don’t be fooled; they are really completely lacking in true self-confidence. Do you understand that?”

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Gen. Robin Olds was our Commandant of Cadets at USAFA for the first three (1967-1970) of my four years there. He was tough as nails but was a great leader. 


Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, WifWaf said:

Thanks for sharing that, Joel.  Did he teach any classes you attended while he was there?

No, although, as Commandant of Cadets, he gave numerous presentations and speeches. He was in charge of the military training and military life aspects of the Academy, including all subordinate officers and enlisted other than those in Athletics Department and the academy Faculty.

I remember the first day that we were introduced to him. The Wing was at lunch in Mitchell Hall (He knew Billy Mitchell as a kid, even attending the infamous Court Martial).

At any rate, the command level dining area was way up above and overlooking the main level cadet dining area. There was a railing all along that level, where many important and famous people would give speeches. He stood at the railing after being introduced and we were all at attention,  of course. He put both hands on the railing and stared at us. And then - not visible to the other dignitaries behind him (the Supt. and Dean, etc.) , he extended both middle fingers from his fists over the railing while he addressed us! I can’t remember what term he used (troops?) to greet us with but we all loved it. Here is a story he later told about that day in his memoirs.

“…when Olds was promoted to brigadier general and named commandant of cadets at the Air Force Academy in 1968, his new cadets gave him an appropriate welcome”.

"I chuckled as we entered Mitchell Hall between rows of cadets at attention wearing fake mustaches," Olds wrote of his first day at the academy in his posthumously-published memoir, "Fighter Pilot." "I stared fiercely into the eyes of several cadets. These guys were already my kids."

Olds then profanely challenged the cadets to beat Army in the next day’s homecoming game, he wrote, “and I gave the whole group a quick one-finger salute. That brought down the house. ... Over the years, people asked me why I did it. Hell, it just seemed like the right thing to do at the time. I was a fighter pilot; they’d better get used to it.”

We beat Army the next day.

His farewell gesture in 1970 was a similar appropriate one finger salute… we missed him.

I can remember some other epic stories that I won’t dwell on here. But he had no time for phonies, boot lickers and the timid. He fought the status quo and prevailing strategy and out dated fighter tactics of the day.

The man was and is a legend! He was an All American football player his second season at West Point, graduating the next Spring. He was an Ace by age 22.

He had more than one multiple kill air missions. He also had more kills than are officially accounted.

In fact, during his second Vietnam War command tour based in Thailand in 1967, he learned that he was going to be recalled home by the Secretary of the Air Force if he had another kill. He didn’t stop flying missions but didn’t report any more kills (wink wink).

He was married to a movie star, Ella Raines. He was buddies with Chappie James, Tooey Spatz and other Air Force Pioneers.

I had great respect for him. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...