Defense

May 3, 2013

The last F-4 departs Davis-Monthan

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Teresa Pittman
Davis-Monthan AF, Ariz.

An F-4 Phantom, tail number 68-0599, departs from the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., April 17, 2013. The aircraft was the last F-4 regenerated by AMARG in support of Air Combat CommandĂ­s full-scale aerial target program.

The final F-4 regenerated from storage at the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group performed its last flight over Tucson, Ariz., April 17, before heading to Mojave, Calif.

Aircraft 68-0599, an RF-4C Phantom, arrived at AMARG for storage on January 18, 1989 and had not flown since.

Eddie Caro, the crew chief assigned to the aircraft since December 2012, watched while the “Last One,” the jet’s call sign, taxied and launched from the Davis-Monthan AFB flightline.

Caro said he and the other maintenance professionals, who rebuilt the jet over the last year, were thrilled to watch the aircraft launch.

“It’s a great feeling to see such a magnificent aircraft fly again to serve the warfighter,” said Caro. “I have no doubt this jet will perform well as a full-scale aerial target. AMARG’s maintainers dedicated thousands of hours, not to mention some blood, sweat and tears to this aircraft.”

From left, Jose Antrobus, Eddie Caro and Stephen Merz, all assigned to the 576th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Squadron, 309th Aerospace Mainteance and Regeneration Group, perform a last inspection on an F-4 Phantom, tail number 68-0599, at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., April 17, 2013. Caro, crew chief of the aircraft, and the other maintenance professionals put in thousands of hours to return the aircraft to flying status after more than 20 years.

The “Boneyard” technicians re-installed hundreds of parts and performed thousands of hours of maintenance to return this jet back to flyable status. This aircraft represents the 316th F-4 withdrawn from storage in support of Air Combat Command’s full-scale aerial target program.

BAE Systems will convert the aircraft into a QRF-4C drone and eventually deliver the jet to the 82nd Aerial Targets Squadron at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla.

The successful delivery of “Last One” represents a significant milestone in AMARG’s history and is a testament to AMARG’s maintenance and flight test teams.

AMARG will continue to support the FSAT program’s fourth generation of drones when they begin regeneration of the first F-16 Fighting Falcons for the drone program in June.

The 82nd ATRS is a geographically separated unit of the 53rd Wing, headquartered at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.




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