Today Januray 7, 2005 will mark the end of almost fifty years of United States Air Force history along with a thirty-plus year relationship between the USAF and the German Luftwaffe.
The last two McDonnell-Douglas ne Boeing F-4F Phantoms from the 20th Fighter Squadron Silver Lobos will fly off to AMARC at Davis-Monthan AFB today. Thus ending a joint USAF/Luftwaffe training mission and finally ending Phantom operations for the USAF. Some may linger at such spots as Edwards AFB, but most will either be scrapped or turned into QF-4 target drones.
Here is a salute to a proud airplane with a distinguished history. Some called it Double Ugly or Rhino, but it still is an airplane worthy of respect. Kurnass F-4s of the IAF continue to soldier on in a limited role. So do South Korean, Japanese, and German Phantoms. Though even in these air forces, their life is short. So an era is closing.
Rest easy all 5,000+ Phantoms for Eagles and Raptors have taken up your sword and shield to defend the United States and its allies.