Stan Olmstead was born on November 12, 1933, in Gage, Oklahoma, and was raised near Marshall, Oklahoma. After attending Oklahoma State University, he enlisted in the Aviation Cadet Program of the U.S. Navy on June 24, 1954, receiving his commission as an Ensign and designation as a Naval Aviator on November 9, 1955. His first assignment was as a Test Pilot at NAS Lakehurst, New Jersey, followed by service as an instructor at the Navy ROTC program at the University of New Mexico. After completing F-4 Phantom II Replacement Air Group training, he was assigned to VF-84, deploying to Southeast Asia aboard the aircraft carrier USS Independence (CV-62) in June 1965. LCDR Olmstead was killed in action while flying a combat mission over North Vietnam on October 17, 1965, but he was officially listed as Missing in Action until declared dead on April 6, 1973, during which time he had been promoted to Commander. His remains have never been returned to the United States.
Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds - and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of - wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long delirious, burning blue,
I've topped the windswept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or even eagle flew -
And, while with silent lifting mind I've trod
The high untresspassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand and touched the face of God.