War hero Robin Olds and fellow fighter aces Chuck Yeager, Walker "Bud" Mahurin and Jack Bolt will be featured on the season premiere episode of a FOX News series commemorating World War II veterans.
With 1,200 to 1,300 World War II veterans dying each week, FOX News decided it was time to chronicle the stories of the men who courageously fought for their country. "War Stories with Oliver North," marking its third season, has documented the tales of countless veterans.
On Sunday, joining the list will be Olds, a U.S. Air Force brigadier general.
Olds, who retired from the military in 1973 and has resided in Steamboat since, will appear in tomorrow's installment of War Stories, titled "The Fighter Aces."
A heavily decorated general, Olds is a member of the elite club of America's greatest fighter pilots: the Aces.
"They are the best of the best," senior FOX News producer Pamela Browne said of the Aces. "The elite of the elite."
To become an ace, a pilot must be credited with five air-to-air victories, known as kills. Olds, who could not be reached for comment, had 12 documented kills in WWII and four kills in Vietnam, leaving him one kill short of becoming a double ace.
Martin Hinton, the executive producer who interviewed Olds, had his own theory as to why Olds never had his fifth kill in Vietnam.
"When he had four kills, they told him that they would bring him home on a publicity tour when he made his fifth. Olds, of course, thought that was ridiculous," Hinton said. "So the question is, did he have more kills that he chose not to record?"
There was a twinkle in Olds' eye, Hinton said, that gave the impression Olds scored more kills than he reported in order to stay with his men.
The episode will air at 6 p.m. Sunday.
Rather than being simply a documentary, the installment will combine interviews with footage and music to take viewers into the skies alongside the pilots.
"We wanted to show the perfect coordination of man and machine," Browne said.
Hinton said most civilians think of veterans as warriors. The producers decided that, in order to contradict the stereotype, they needed to show the "person behind the warrior."
"It's a combination of military history and human history in conflict," Hinton said.
Hinton said Olds was a "fascinating man" and clearly loved being in the air.
"He is totally enamored with flight," he said. "His house is an homage to flying."
Olds makes it clear how he feels about flying.
"Towns and cities are like jewels thrown out on a velvet cloth. You're all by yourself, and right over your head, through the canopy, are the stars. There are times like that when you really don't want to land. It seeps totally into your soul," Olds said during his interview.
In two wars, separated by 23 years, Olds flew 259 combat missions and is credited with a final tally of 17 kills.
His other decorations include the Air Force Cross, the Silver Star with three oak leaf clusters (OLC), the Distinguished Flying Cross with four OLC, and an Air Medal with 39 OLC.
Olds graduated from West Point in 1943 and served in the military from 1943 to 1973. An All-American football player, he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1985. Olds was the commander of cadets at the U.S. Air Force Academy from 1967 to 1971 and is credited with being the precursor to the modern-day Thunderbirds, or jet formation acrobatics.
Olds can trace his family military roots back to George Washington's army.