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U.S. Air Force Officially Retires The Vietnam Era Jet After More Than 50 Years Of Service

January 06, 2017

The McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II has been around for a very long time, over 50 years to be exact. From an equipment terms perspective that is a very long time. The tandem two-seat, twin-engine, all-weather, long-range supersonic jet interceptor aircraft/fighter-bomber originally developed for the U.S. Navy entered service originally in the 60’s. Its eventual highly adaptable airframe and reliable performance made it the U.S. Marine Corps and the U.S. Air Force de-facto interceptor, becoming a major part of their respective air wings by the mid-1960s. It was the first fighter jet, and perhaps only one until the F-35 Lightning II JSF, to be the official fighter jet of all the three services aviation components, in addition to having been the only official jet of both the U.S. Navy Blue Angels and the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds.

Beginning in 1958, it set 16 world records for in-flight performance, including an absolute speed, and an absolute altitude record. However, everyone’s number is called sooner or later. Retired from active combat in 1996, the F-4 Phantom II number came when it was officially retired from service while in Nellis Air Force Base this past December 2016. This video recounts the greatness of a true pioneer and maverick of the U.S. Military Aviation. After having flown every role in combat aviation, one of the U.S. Military aviation all time greats flies away into retirement.