Speaking of fighter aces, someone needs to do a full-blown biography of Brigadier General Robin Olds (USAF, ret.).
The first chapter of John Darrell Sherwood’s Fast Movers is a good start on one, but I think much more needs to be written about General Olds.
Two quotes from Sherwood’s book stand out for me:
Olds’ tremendous success as a combat leader stemmed from three elements in his personality; his loyalty to his men, his desire to share danger with his men, and his willingness to socialize and interact casually with his troops. Olds never asked someone else to do something that he wouldn’t do himself. He also did his utmost to shield his men from policies and orders that he considered nonsensical or downright dangerous.
Unlike many other leaders during the war, Robin Olds’ loyalty extended down to the lowest-ranking man in his outfit. Even if one were only a slick-wing captain, if one had a hot idea Olds would listen, and if one could sell him on that idea, Robin Olds would put his career on the line to see it implemented. Moreover, Olds did not come into the outfit thinking he knew everything. He was willing to learn from others. More significantly, he was willing to share danger with others. That he occasionally made mistakes is evident in this narrative. That his men forgave him when he did had everything to do with his willingness to share risk. Not once in his entire career did Robin Olds ever ask a pilot to do something that he would not do himself.