Model of Merle's P-51 "Joan" made by Les Wells in
honor of Merle.
We salute our dear friend
Merle Olmsted. Friend, Historian and Mentor!
Merle and Bud sign art prints!
Msgt. USAF (ret) Merle C.
MSGT. USAF (RET) Merle C. Olmsted
died January 9, 2008, at age 84 in his Springfield, Mo., home. Born
in Dubuque, Iowa, in 1923, the only son of Herschel and Irene Hanna
Olmsted, Merle and Margreth, his wife of 60+ years, had just moved
to Springfield in May after many years in California. Olmsted spent
his life in active duty with the U.S. Army Air Corp and Air Force,
and was a member of the 357th Fighter Group with the 8th Air Force
as Crew Chief for the P51 Mustangs flying out of Leiston Air Field,
England, during World War II. He was a noted historian and author of
numerous articles and three books, his latest being "To War With the
Yoxford Boys." After enlisting in the Air Corp in 1942, he served 22
years active duty, then 20 years in the same capacity in the Air
Force and Army Aviation, retiring in 1985. He was historian for his
World War II 357th Fighter Group and a lifetime member of the Air
Force Sergeants Assn., the Mighty 8th AF Museum and the Wright
Patterson Air Force Museum. He also was a lifetime member of the
American Aviation Historical Society. Olmsted wrote many articles
and supplied hundreds of pictures and much information for the AAHS
Journal. He was an amateur aviation artist, an expert scratch-built
modeler, and shared his knowledge of aviation with many enthusiasts
worldwide. His extensive collection of information, pictures, film
and other items are being donated to the Mighty 8th Museum. Olmsted
was honored in September at the Gathering of Mustangs and Legends at
Rickenbacker Airport, Columbus, Ohio, as one of 51 men and women who
flew or maintained the P51 Mustangs in World War II. Olmsted is
survived by his wife, Margreth, of the home; a son, Dr. Michael K.
Olmsted Sr. and wife, Nan, of Springfield, Mo.; two grandchildren,
Andrea Margreth and husband, Ryan Freeman, Brazil, Indiana, and
Michael K. Olmsted II and wife, Amy, Springfield, Mo.; and six
great-grandchildren, Rylee, Bailey and A.J. Freeman, and Chandler,
Lakyn and Ashlyn Olmsted. He also has one cousin, Betty Olmsted
Kline of Davenport, Iowa.
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