Happy Birthday To The McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II

Port view of two F-4S Phantom II, Fighter Squadron (VF)-301, Devil's Disciples, NAS Miramar, in flight. (Photo by PPH2 BRUCE TROMBECKY - USNavy)
Port view of two F-4S Phantom II, Fighter Squadron (VF)-301, Devil's Disciples, NAS Miramar, in flight. (Photo by PPH2 BRUCE TROMBECKY - USNavy)
Port view of two F-4S Phantom II, Fighter Squadron (VF)-301, Devil’s Disciples, NAS Miramar, in flight. (Photo by PPH2 BRUCE TROMBECKY – USNavy)

By Aviation Enthusiasts LLC

The McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II flew for the first time fifty-six years ago today.  The most important western fighter of the postwar period, more than 5,000 F-4s were built between 1958 and 1981.  The aircraft began life as the F3H-G naval strike fighter and was adapted to meet a Navy requirement for a fleet defense fighter in 1955.  A two-seat multirole fighter, it demonstrated performance levels far above anything then flying.  Navy Phantoms set 16 world records which stood until the F-15 Eagle appeared in 1975.  The first confirmed Phantom air-to-air victory of the Vietnam War took place on June 17, 1965, when an F-4B from Fighter Squadron TWENTY ONE (VF-21) downed a MiG-17.  Of the 57 Navy aerial victories in Vietnam, 36 were in Phantoms!  The Air Force and Marine Corps operated the F-4, as did air forces of 11 other nations.  Variants of the Phantom in reconnaissance and Wild Weasel configurations were also employed.

Here is a photo of Lieutenant Colonel Wayne “Holy” Chitmon in an F-4 at the 2012 Naval Air Station Oceana Air Show.

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McDonnell Douglas QF-4E Phantom II: 72-0494 – 82nd Aerial Targets Squadron (82nd ATRS)

After 40 years in service with the German Air Force, the service is retiring the last of their McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom IIs.WarbirdsNews had the opportunity to participate to the final event held in June 2013 at the Wittmund Airbase. Click HERE to read our article.

Visit www.aviation-enthusiasts.com for more aviation and air show memories!

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