A rare Phantom, assigned to the 4485th Test Squadron of the USAF Air Warfare Center at Eglin AFB (FL). The 4485th operated several Phantom types at that time, F-4Ds, F-4Es, RF-4C and F-4Gs. The latter and so the one on the picture belonged to 4485th TS/Det.5, which was based at George AFB (CA). These birds initially carried the 35th TFW code of 'WW' before switching to 'OT'. During the switch, the birds received a gray checkered pattern on the fin cap, representing a toned-down version of the black and white checkers.
Det.5 Phantoms were rarely seen, so I was happy to photograph a few during a Green Flag exercise at Nellis. Unfortunately, the light was on the wrong during photography (or the Phantom took the wrong runway at Nellis?). Anyway, as the bird was rare, I still enjoy to have seen it (although the picture quality is not the best).
During a Green Flag at Nellis, this nice F-4G that was seen, normally based at nearby George AFB (CA). This bird was built as F-4E in 1969, delivered to the USAF in March 1970 (to Torrejon air base in Spain), swapped to several other squadrons before it was rebuilt to F-4G in August 1978. Then it flew as a Wild Weasel from George and Boise (ID), before placed in storage at Davis Monthan. Then 0243 was converted to QF-4G in April 1997 and assigned to the 82d Aerial Targets Squadron at Tyndall were it was eventually shot down (unmanned) as an aerial target on 13 February 2008.
Built as F-4E, rebuilt to F-4G, saw a long operational careeer in the USAF, placed in storage at AMARC (with inventory number FP0833) in April 2000, selected for conversion to QF-4G, moved to Mojave for modification and eventually found its way to the 475th Weapons Evaluation Group, 82d Tactical Aerial Targets Squadron where it flew as AF219 from September 2001 onwards. The Phantom was shot down as an aerial target on 8 February 2006 over the Gulf of Mexico.
The 194th Fighter Interceptor Squadron operated the F-4D during the eightees. As several F-4D squadrons of the Air National Guard were replacing their F-4Ds by F-15s or F-16s, the best remaining aircraft were dispersed over the unites still operating the F-4D. That resulted in multiple coloured Phantoms at Fresno Air National Guard Base, the basic grey, this European I (or Lizard) and Egypt One. Click in the search engine at unit and you can see all different lay-outs.
The 194th Fighter Interceptor Squadron of the California Air National Guard used the mighty F-4D Phantom II. This is of course the classic picture that most photographers want to click, when visiting an Air National Guard Base