Class Of 1964 USAF Academy

Gary's History

gary.gif Background Information on Gary Sidney Olin (As of Mar 2011)

Born 26 Aug 1942 in Loma Linda, CA.

Father: Sidney R. Olin was a career Air Force officer. A navigator in B-17's (WWII) and B-47's & B-52's after being recalled during the Korean War. Died at 56 years old due to melanoma cancer.

Mother: Betty J. Olin (nee Iffert) was a career housewife, never remarried, and still resides in San Bernardino, CA.

Siblings: Sister, Kathy Hartley, age 63, and brother Robert Olin, age 57, reside in South Carolina.

Due to my father being in the military, I moved around a lot until 1952 when he was assigned to March AFB in Riverside. At that time my family moved into their original home in San Bernardino, and I lived there from 5th grade until I graduated from Pacific High School, San Bernardino, CA in 1960.

I was accepted into the US Air Force Academy directly out of high school and graduated from there in 1964. I then went to pilot training at Webb AFB, TX, followed by F-100 training at Luke AFB, AZ in 1965. Although I was a volunteer for Viet Nam, I was next assigned to Misawa Air Base, Japan. (The beginning of a love/hate relationship with MPC.) Hate.

My original “plan” was to fly F-100's in Viet Nam and (if I survived) then return to the US to marry my girlfriend of 5 years. But, because the assignment to Japan was a 3-year tour of duty, I decided to get married before proceeding there.

I married Patricia Ann Drehs in Greenville, OH in Jun 1966. I met her in Dayton during our Doolie field trip (1961) when my roommate Ed's mother (Mrs. Mechenbier) arranged a picnic for several cadets and girls from the local area. I fell in love on the spot.

We then went to my first operational assignment at Misawa AB, Japan. While there I pulled “Victor” Alert in Korea and was a continual volunteer for Viet Nam, as I was afraid that the war would end before I could get there…!!! Boy, was I naive!!!!

The only fighter assignment that personnel could get me in Viet Nam was in the F-105, which my wife and her friends termed the “Widow Maker.” Although my wife was very unhappy about my volunteering, we then went to Nellis AFB, NV where I checked out in the F-105, graduating in the summer of 1967.

My father was stationed in Utapao, Thailand at that time, so my wife went to live with my mother in San Bernardino while I went off to Takhli Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand. While there it took me seven months to complete my 100 missions over North Viet Nam (44 of which were in Route Pak VI - Hanoi).

Side note: As I was neared the completion of my Thud tour, I filled out my “dream sheet” in a cocky fighter-pilot sort of way. I put only my personal info and left out all the usual choices about theater preference, base assignment, job titles, etc., and wrote simply in the remarks block: “I will accept any single seat fighter assignment anywhere in the world.” It worked, and for my third PCS in a row I was assigned to an overseas base. This was against AF policy at the time, but I didn‘t fight that one. Love.

Side note: When I received notice of my pending assignment to England, I went to Personnel at Takhli and asked if we could sail to England, as I'd heard that was possible. A very obese Lt told me “absolutely not -- those billets are only for O-6s and above.” He mentioned that he was envious of me being a pilot and that he would dearly love to get a ride in the F-105. About a week later I had a rather benign Functional Check Flight (FCF) in a 2-seat model so I went back to the Lt and said: “C'mon, you're going to get your incentive ride.” He was too big to fit into a G-suit, but the profile that day didn't call for any excessive G's, so he really didn't need one. The flight went well and he was tickled to death. Much to my surprise, about a week later I got my order's: proceed to London out of NY via the USS United States!! It was a wonderful second honeymoon for my wife and I!! More love.

After my combat tour I was assigned to RAF Woodbridge, UK in 1968, again flying the F-100. We pulled “Victor” at home as well as Aviano AB, Italy, and Cigli AB, Turkey. We also spent lots of time doing gunnery at Wheelus AB, Libya. In 1970, my unit was transferred to RAF Upper Heyford and transitioned to the F-111. Our first daughter was born in the UK.

The AF then sent me to Florida State University where I received an MBA in Operations Research (1973) and our second child - a son - was born. I hadn't volunteered for this assignment, but was told that it would be “good for my career.” Some “hate” (no flying) on my part, but it was an 18 month vacation.

Following that I was again assigned to Takhli RTAFB as a staff officer (see below), but when it closed in mid 1973, I went up to Nakhom Phanom RTAFB to finish my one-year remote tour. While there I checked out in the T-39.

When I received this second remote tour to SEA, I queried MPC on why I was going a second time when there were plenty of pilots who had never been once. (AF policy at the time.) Hell, the war was over and I sure didn't want to go back to a desk job in SEA. MPC's answer: I had volunteered for SEA the first time, so THIS would be my first “involuntary” assignment to SEA. I almost got out of the AF over that stupidity. Real “hate“.

From there I was assigned to the Pentagon where I spent four miserable years behind a desk. Final “hate” for MPC. There was a little flying time in the T-39, but it was really more trouble than it was worth, and the AF eventually decided to grant us flight pay without having to actually fly at all. Our third and fourth children were born there at Ft Belvoir, VA.

In Jan 1979 I was assigned to George AFB, CA where I transitioned to the F-4G and spent 6.5 years flying as a “Wild Weasel.” During the last three years there I served as the Operations Officer of the 563TFS, prior to retiring from the service in 1985 as a Lt Col.

I then got a job with Rockwell International at Palmdale where the B-1B was just beginning to be produced. I worked there first as an “aircraft manager” whose prime function was to coordinate all final manufacturing and ground tests on a given aircraft and then coordinate/supervise its test flights until it was “sold” to the Air Force. That was not a fun job and a helluva lot of work…often 90+ hours per week!!

In 1987, I was lucky enough to be accepted as an F-106 “chase” pilot. That “job” entailed flying beside newly produced B-1's, to ensure flight safety. I did that for two years, then in 1988, the Government Flight Representative obtained a waiver so that I could check out in the B-1, as well as continue flying the F-106. (The requirements to fly the B-1 included Test Pilot School and 500 hours of 4+ engine time -- neither of which I had.) I accomplished a local checkout in the B-1 and continued to fly it -- long after the last F-106 went to the bone yard in 1990.

I was termed an “Acceptance Pilot” - something less than a “test” pilot, since I never went to that particular school. But I did acquire over 1200 hours in the B-1 since retrofit work at Palmdale continued for ten years after production ended.

Around 1990, Boeing acquired that part of Rockwell where I worked. When B-1 flying ceased in 1998 I was assigned as the Customer Relations, Business Development, and Public Relations person for the X-35 (being produced at Palmdale) which was Boeing's entry into the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) competition. Two concept demonstrator aircraft were built and flown, but Boeing lost the competition for the JSF to Lockheed. I retired from Boeing in Sep 2001.

During the first eight years of my retirement, my wife continued to teach school at Village Elementary where she began in 1985. She has since retired, and we are enjoying a quiet life. I play golf M-W-F and am a member of the Men‘s Club Board.. I have a large garden which helps keep me busy, and other interests include hunting and fishing although I don't do much hunting anymore. I do go to SC every fall to hunt and fish with my brother. Other interests include bridge and tending to 45 chickens…!!

Our four children all graduated from Apple Valley High school. The oldest, a daughter Wendy age 40, went to UC Santa Barbara, then obtained a law degree at USC. She was one of the youngest Asst. US Attorneys in Los Angeles, before going to a private firm and is now a full-time mom. She and her husband live in Saugus and they are the parents of three fine boys.

The number two kid is a graduate of West Point and a Lt Col in the US Army. Mark, age 38, is currently assigned to Heidelberg, Germany. He has already served overseas tours in Korea, Kuwait, and Iraq. He and his wife have two children.

Number three is a Physician Assistant working and living in Hermosa Beach, CA. Matt graduated from UCLA where he was a four-year letterman in both track and cross-country. He is 35 years old and not yet married.

The last child, Amy, age 33, is an Emergency Room doctor, residing in Morro Bay, CA. She is single and runs Marathons, Iron Man, and Triathlon races and is competing on a level with professional women.

That about sums it up. Nice wife and family. Reasonably successful career. (Didn't kill myself…)

GARY S. OLIN 15075 Waseca Lane Apple Valley, Ca 92307 (760) 242-4836 olyolin AT
[ My Most Memorable Mission ]


Fishing in Alasaka 2006


Enjoying My Favorite Beverage
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