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Jay T. Robbins
U.S. Army Air Force, 8th Fighter Group, 80th Fighter Squadron, P-38 Pilot

Jay Thorpe Robbins was born September 16, 1919 in Coolidge, Texas. After completing high school, he enrolled at Texas Agriculture and Mining College and graduated with a commission as a U.S. Army 2nd Lieutenant through the Reserve Officers Training Program (ROTC).

Wartime History
Click For EnlargementIn February 1941 he enlisted in the U.S. Army in the infantry but soon afterwards transferred to the U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF) and completed flight training at Randolph Field and earned his wings in July 1942. Afterwards, assigned to the 20th Pursuit Group, 55th Fighter Squadron at Morris Field, North Carolina and later Drew Field, Florida where he flew fighter aircraft and was promoted to the rank of 1st Lieutenant.

Robbins was sent overseas to the South West Pacific Area (SWPA) and assigned to the 5th Air Force, 8th Fighter Group, 80th Fighter Squadron as a fighter pilot flying P-39 Airacobras and later P-38 Lightnings from 3 Mile Drome (Kila) near Port Moresby and Turnbull Field near Milne Bay. During October 1942 promoted to Captain and became an ace by September 4, 1943.

Click For EnlargementAssigned Aircraft
Robbins was assigned at least five P-38 Lightnings that he nicknamed "Jandina". The nickname was an abbreviation for his nickname "Jay" and his wife's nickname "Ina" joined together. Each aircraft also had the nose art of a Buddha figure with both hands raised upward. Aircraft assigned to Robbins included:
P-38H "Jandina" 42-668??  claimed his first seven aerial victories, ultimate fate unknown likely scrapped
P-38J "Jandina II" 42-67590  ultimate fate unknown likely scrapped
P-38J "Jandina III 42-103988  force landed May 7, 1944 salvaged 1999 and exported to Australia then to USA
P-38J "Jandina IV" 43-28832  ultimate fate unknown likely scrapped
P-38 "Jandina V"  ultimate fate unknown likely scrapped

During January 1944 he became commander of the 80th Fighter Squadron. In May 1944 promoted to Major. In September 1944 became deputy commander of the group. During February 1945 he returned to the US and was assigned as commander of the 434th Army Air Forces Base Unit at Santa Rosa Field, California until November 1945.

Aerial victory claims
Robbins was officially credited with 22 aerial victory claims between July 21, 1943 to November 14, 1944. All of his victory claims were against Japanese fighter aircraft in the air. In total, Robbins flew 607 hours on 181 combat missions flying P-39 Airacobra and P-38 Lightning.

Victory Date Location Aircraft Notes on claim
1 07/21/43     First aerial victory claim.
2 07/21/43     Second aerial victory claim
3 07/21/43     Third aerial victory claim.
4 09/04/43     Fourth aerial victory claim.
5 09/04/43     Fifth aerial victory claim became an "ace".
6 09/04/43     Sixth aerial victory claim.
7 09/04/43     Seventh aerial victory claim.
8 10/24/43 Rabaul   Eighth aerial victory claim.
9 10/24/43 Rabaul   Ninth aerial victory claim.
10 10/24/43 Rabaul   Tenth aerial victory claim.
11 10/24/43 Rabaul   Eleventh aerial victory claim.
12 12/26/43 Cape Gloucester Zero Twelfth aerial victory claim.
13 12/26/43 Cape Gloucester Zero Thirteenth aerial victory claim.
14 03/30/44 Hollandia   Fourteenth aerial victory claim.
15 03/30/44 Hollandia   Fifteenth aerial victory claim.
16 03/31/44 Hollandia   Sixteenth aerial victory claim.
17 04/12/44     Seventeenth aerial victory claim.
18 04/12/44     Eighteenth aerial victory claim.
19 06/16/44     Nineteenth aerial victory claim.
20 06/16/44     Twentieth aerial victory claim.
21 08/17/44     Twenty-first aerial victory claim.
22 11/14/44     Twenty-second aerial victory claim.

In late 1945, assigned to the 412th Fighter Group as squadron operations officer (later redesignated 1st Fighter Group) at March Field. He joined the U.S. Air Force (USAF) when formed. In June 1947 assigned to Headquarters Tactical Air Command (TAC) at Langley AFB and worked in staff positions in plans and operations. During 1949 assigned to Headquarters 12th Air Force, Brooks Air Force Base, Texas. In 1950 he attended the Air Command and Staff School at Maxwell AFB and graduated in June then returned to the 12th Air Force. In August 1950 he was assigned as assistant chief, Tactical Air Operations Branch, Headquarters Continental Air Command, Mitchel AFB in New York. During January 1951, joined the operational staff of the newly established Air Defense Command at Ent AFB, Colorado.

In June 1953 he was assigned to Headquarters USAF in Washington DC and served as plans and programs officer of the War Plans Division, Directorate of Plans, and became a member of the Joint Strategic Plans Group of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and represented the Joint Chiefs of Staff on a special continental defense subcommittee of the National Security Council.

Between July 1957 until August 1961 he served as deputy commander and later commander of the 20th Tactical Fighter Wing in England. He then returned to the US and attended the National War College at Fort McNair, Washington DC. After graduating in July 1962 he became the Director of Flight Safety at Headquarters US Air Force. In January 1963 he became the Director of Aerospace Safety at Norton Air Force Base, California. In July 1965 he became commander of the 313th Air Division and in March 1967 he was assigned to Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii and served duty as the Chief of Staff, Headquarters Pacific Air Forces. In July 1968 he became commander of the 12th Air Force at Bergstrom Air Force Base, Texas and in February 1970 he was named vice commander of TAC at Langley, where he remained until August 1972 when he was appointed as vice commander of Military Airlift Command (now Air Mobility Command) at Scott AFB, Illinois. In September 1972, when Lieutenant General George B. Simler was killed in an airplane crash while on his way to assume the Commander-in-Chief of Military Airlift Command, he became its interim commander until a replacement was chosen shortly afterwards.

In 1974 Robbins retired retired with the rank of Lieutenant General (LTG) with 33 years of continuous military service. He was a rated command pilot with nearly 5,000 flying hours, mostly in fighter-type aircraft. For his service, he earned the Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) with 1 oak leaf cluster, the Distinguished Service Medal (DSM) with 1 oak leaf cluster, the Silver Star with 1 oak leaf cluster, Legion of Merit with 1 oak leaf cluster, Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) with 3 oak leaf clusters, the Air Medal with 6 oak leaf clusters, the Air Force Commendation Medal with 1 oak leaf cluster, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, the World War II Victory Medal, and the National Defense Service Medal.

Robbins passed away on March 3, 2001 at age 81. He is buried at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery at section 11A site 65.

USAF Historical Study No. 85 USAF Credits For The Destruction of Enemy Aircraft, World War II Alphabetical: Robbins Jay T., Alphabetical, by theater of operation (SWP) Robbins, Chronological List, 80th FTR SQ
P-38 Aces of the Pacific and CBI (1997) by John Stanaway
Attack & Conquer (1995) by John Stanaway pages 189 (photo) 190, 192, 291 (photos)
FindAGrave - LTG Jay Thorpe Robbins (obituary, photo, grave photo)

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