Story by Staff Sgt. Daniel Ter Haar
Covered in dust, a North American Aviation F-100F Super Sabre sat in the desert at Davis Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona. Bearing tail number 3880, the once proud aircraft was assigned to the Iowa Air National Guard’s 174th Fighter Squadron in Sioux City, Iowa until her retirement when she was sent to the “The Boneyard”. Although the desert is ideal for keeping older aircraft preserved, it is a far cry from the glory 3880 once experienced in the skies.The Air National Guard had a better retirement plan for 3880 and brought it home to the Air National Guard Paint Facility in Sioux City, Iowa. After 38 years of sitting in the desert, where it was almost used for target practice in the 1990’s, it received a full static display restoration. According to Dave Miller, the paint facility manager at Sioux City, the aircraft designated tail number 3880 was built in 1956 and served at Sioux City starting in 1961 until its retirement in 1977. Miller said it was the only F-100F remaining at the Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group in Arizona.
It’s scheduled to be on its way to the National Guard Bureau at Andrews Air Force Base by the end of January. 3880 will be placed on display as a tribute to Major General Donald Shepperd (Retired), an F-100F pilot for the Mistys squadron during Vietnam and whose name is now painted on the side. While deployed to Vietnam, Shepperd flew 58 missions out of Phu Cat from Dec. 1967 to April 1968, as a part of the Mistys. The Misty mission in Vietnam was to fly low and fast over the jungles of Vietnam in order to locate targets. Once a target was located, they would direct other aircraft in to strike the target, according to MistyVietnam.com, a website operated by Misty Veterans.
The tail markings of 3880 were changed to “HE” to representing the tail markings the Mistys used during the Vietnam War.The F-100F Super Sabre served at Sioux City longer than any other aircraft. Sioux City used the F-100 from 1961-1977, a period of 16 years. It saw combat in Vietnam, which included close air support missions for troops on the ground and flew 250 thousand sorties during the Vietnam War, more than any other fixed wing aircraft. Now clean and restored with new paint, 3880 has found a new home at Andrews Air Force Base where it will be displayed for current and future generations of Airmen to enjoy and honor the pilots of the Misty missions in Vietnam.
This work, Back from the bone yard, by SSgt Daniel Ter Haar, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.