Friend of mine was on the last cruise in VF-151…

USS Midway (CV-41) was the last US Navy aircraft carrier to operate the McDonnell Douglas F-4S Phantom II. On March 25th 1986 the Midway sent the Phantoms to the beach for good.

The article and a nice little video are HERE. No combat footage in this one, but interesting shots of tanking and carrier ops.

This video, starting about 7:30 in, shows combat footage of F-4s in Vietnam. Frito received a DFC for one of their flights during his deployment there in 68.

One of the things to consider is that the F-4 was ‘originally’ designed as a fighter/interceptor, without a gun…

They did develop a centerline pod with a 20mm gun, that was moderately successful, and the Marines turned the F-4 into a bomber in Vietnam to provide CLOSE air support to their guys on the ground.

One helluva airplane, and proof that with enough power, a brick will fly! 🙂

Frito actually retired rather than converting to the F-14 or F-18, saying nothing would compare to the time he’d spent in the Phantom.


Phantoms… — 15 Comments

  1. I went to the vulture’s roost on Forrestal’s island and watching a dusk launch of a Phantom sometime in ’74-’76.

    Wow. It was amazing and the airdales absolutely earned their flight deck pay.

  2. I use to park at the end of the flight line and watch ’em come and go at night.
    I once asked a German pilot I knew why he flew them.
    He said there was nothing like shooting down the runway at 600mph and then pulling the stick back and going straight up.
    I don’t know how you break that addiction.

  3. Hey Old NFO;

    The Phantom shows that even a brick will fly, but I wonder how the plane would work with upgraded avionics and powerplants. the airframe is stout enough to handle the extra speed.

  4. “proof that with enough power, a brick will fly!

    During one of my tours in Iceland, when the 57th FIS was still flying the F-4E II, a young pilot was taking off with his wingman for a routine patrol. As he pulled the stick back to bring the nose wheel off the runway his left wingtip folded up. Thinking fast, he hit the wing fold lever and folded the right wing tip quickly so he wouldn’t corkscrew into the ground under asymmetrical flight. He flew around the airfield for over an hour burning off fuel to get down below landing weight. Almost the entire base was out on the flight line watching him. Finally, he made a fast approach and put the plane back on the deck safely.

  5. Ray- LOL, why does it NOT surprise me that it was 57th… That was a strange bunch… We routinely had to throw them out of the Brass Nut for getting stoopid!!!

  6. Love that jet! I joined the Navy in 1971 hoping to fly the Phantom but never got that platform, A-4 was as close as I got, that still was a blast.

  7. Steve- Yep, the Scooter was fun too! I worked on/flew them as a backseater in TA-4Js…

  8. EW tech, worked on the WW at GAFB for a couple years, I loved the F4’s When the F15 showed up to replace them, it was kinda sad, the F15 didn’t have the same ‘soul’ though it was a lot easier to work on.

    Will always have a soft spot for the F4, right where I ran into one of the main wheel doors without looking…

  9. I was working in my shop one day when I heard a noise. Ventured out to look and a Phantom nearly landed on my shop even though I was three miles from the runway. It was close enough that I could see rivets. I guess I should mention that conditions were way below minimums to be landing.

    Damn, those things are loud when they put on the power.