'The true Soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because He loves what is behind him.' -G. K. Chesterton

17 June 2010

Fighter Pilot Review

I just finished Fighter Pilot. The book is the memoirs of Fighter Ace Robin Olds in his own words as edited by Ed Rasimus and Christina Olds.

I am not a pilot, never have been and probably never will be. I am a lover of all things winged though. I am in awe of the men who regularly lay their lives on the line to bring death and destruction to our enemies. Robin Olds was such a man (as is Ed Rasimus. I've read Palace Cobra and When Thunder Rolled and both are must reads). I have read a lot of biographical military books from Company Commander to Thud Ridge. From Marcus Luttrel to Carlos Hathcock. With apologies to the deserving, Fighter Pilot may be the best of the bunch.

Fighter Pilot takes the reader from Olds' childhood in the company of some of America's greats through his life and career, past his retirement. He talks about the Air Corps/Air Force as well as his family and friends. From internal combustion trainers to the best fighters of WWII to the beginning of the Jet Age and beyond.

What struck me most about the book though is how human Robin was. He not only talked about his victories and accomplishments, he talked about his fears and failures. He talked about how his experiences molded him into the man and fighter pilot he became. He didn't hold anything back and when I was done I was left with the feeling that Robin Olds was a man I would have dearly loved to have met and talked with.

It's also obvious from reading the words in this book and what others have said and written about him that Robin Olds was a singular leader of men and a historic and larger than life figure. As a nation we can be proud that we have produced such men as Robin Olds and I only hope that we still can.

I loved Fighter Pilot. It has a special place on my bookshelves, to be taken down now and again for a re-read so I can remind myself of what Americans can aspire to and accomplish.

Oh, and for the FCC? Bite me. I bought the book with my own hard earned pesos and I have no relationship with the authors or anyone involved in this book. Sheesh.



Me said...

I agree. It was a fantastic book, and Ed's other books are well worth the read as well.

Six said...

I finished When Thunder Rolled and am half way through Palace Cobra. Yep, Ed gets his own section on the bookshelf.