F-4 Phantom II has retired as a target drone

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http://www.popularmechanics.com/military/aviation/a24434/f-4-phantom-retiring/ Last QF-4 target drone flights this month. Not sure if the Greeks are still flying them or not. We certainly got our money's worth out of this platform, The multi-service fighter that was never intended to be. Our local Indiana Air National Guard flew them from 1978 to 1991, starting with F-4Cs and ending with F-4Es. I still miss seeing, and above all, hearing them. IIRC the Collings Foundation still flies one Here is a Pic I snapped of Col. Robin Olds's Phantom at the USAF museum in 2014
 
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That's my favorite fighter. It makes the ground shake. They used to come to town flying right over the tree tops for air shows. It makes an impression. The f16 and up just don't make enough noise.
 
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Leave it to Uncle Sam to use a "muscle car of the sky" for its front line fighter in the 60s. A plane that could fly 1,200 mph and carry 9 tons of ordinance in the early 60s must have seemed futuristic. Brute strength counts for a lot, I suppose. 7 to 1 kill ratio against the best Migs.
 

JHZR2

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That was a classic. I grew up with the F-14/15/16, when the "stealth" plane was a guess (I have a model of a rendition of the stealth mystery plane). I always liked to see the "classic" F-4.
 
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They had a flight of three fly over our little town just last week for the final time. Would have been fitting to have shot them down over the white sands. Smoky
 
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After leaving the Navy in 1967 I went to work for MacDonnell Douglas in St. Louis where I worked on the engines for the F4. We took the engines out of the can and installed the fuel control system, all the accessories including the after burner. Then the engines were ready to be installed into the air craft. These included engines(GE J79) for the Navy and Air Force versions, and the Royal Air Force F4 with the Rolls Royce engine.
 
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Friends recall hearing "Rolling Hot with a Load of Nails" as salvation........
 
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My uncle flew these things in Vietnam. He said they cured of him of his obsession of one day owning a Ford GT40. Also cured him of his desire to ever fly again. He flew Wild Weasel missions over the North, dodging the red ribbons to put a Shrike up Charlie's hole. Volunteered for that crummy deal. Said he hated SAMs so much he punched out a guy named Sam in a bar.
 
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My old friend Dave can tell stories about those old F4 over Nam. He actually flew in one that had a bent airframe! They were hard to kill. They were NOT agile. Our victories were primarily due to superior PILOTS, not planes...
 
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My fathers first programming job was as an air force contractor digitizing and stitching together terrain maps for the F4 Phantom flight simulator. His draft lottery number was 7, so he was fortunate to have a degree in mathematics and a brother who had already put in his 4 years with the USAF and now worked in command and control systems. The two of them spent the war in at the Rome Air Development Center at Griffiss AFB
 
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I recall them being used for the Blue Angels when I was a kid. Awesome aircraft...huge, fast...dirty exhaust......and scary looking.
 
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In the old daze they would fly straight down Dale Mabry Highway in Tampa from Macdill Air Force Base at treetop level! It was an amazing thing to see and hear...
 
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I flew both the F-4C Wild Weasel and the F-4G Wild Weasel models in the back seat as an Electronic Warfare Officer. We joked the electronic devices in the F-4C WW were steam powered. It took a very capable crew to do their job in that platform, and life expectancy wasn't expected to be long in a conflict. The F-4G had a lot of capability as a SAM killer. It was replaced by the F-16 that was much less capable in that role. Don't get me wrong, the F-16 is a great fighter, just was a very poor Wild Weasel when the F-4G was phased out around '93. Hopefully they improved it to near the F-4 capability in the last 24 years.
 
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