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. Olmsted

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.