Canal Zone – Soesterberg / Camp New Amsterdam – Ramstein
F-4 Phantom at Soesterberg Air Base.
In 1968, the first F-4 Phantom II arrived at Soesterberg AB, to replace the F-102 Delta Dagger.
The F-4 Phatom remained in service with the 32nd Wolfhounds until it was replaced for the F-15 Eagle in 1978.
In its air-to-ground role, the F-4 Phantom II could carry twice the normal load of a World War II-era B-17 bomber. Weapons and/or external tanks can be carried on nine external store stations. A typical configuration for an F-4C in 1967 consisted of four AIM-7E and four AIM-9B air-to-air missiles, and eight 750-pound Mk 117 bombs. The aircraft also carried two external fuel tanks on the outboard pylons and one ALQ-87 electronic countermeasures (ECM) pod on the right inboard pylon. The F-4E also had an internally mounted 20mm multi barrel gun with improved fire-control system.
When operating in the attack or close air support role, the aircraft normally carried air-to-air missiles for self-protection.
First flown in May 1958, the Phantom II originally was developed for U.S. Navy fleet defense. The U.S. Air Force's first version, the F-4C, made its first flight in May 1963, and production deliveries began six months later. Phantom II production ended in 1979 after over 5,000 had been built: more than 2,600 for the USAF, about 1,200 for the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps, and the rest for friendly foreign nations.
In 1965, the Air Force sent its first F-4Cs to Southeast Asia, where they flew air-to-air missions against North Vietnamese fighters as well as attacking ground targets. The various incarnations of the F-4 scored more than 100 MIG kills in Vietnam.
The aircraft continued to serve the Air Force, including a vital role in Desert Storm, until it was retired in 1996.