Phantom with Air National Guard

Last revised April 30, 2000




Ex-USAF F-4Cs first began to reach units of the Air National Guard in 1972. First to get the F-4C was the 170th TFS of the 183rd TFG of the Illinois ANG, which began to receive the type in January of 1972. F-4Cs ended up serving with seven ANG units in the tactical role. In addition, they served in the air defense role from 1978 onwards with seven ANG fighter interceptor squadrons and with a air defense training squadron They equipped the following ANG units:

Most of the ANG's F-4Cs were replaced by later-model F-4Ds and Es (as well as by F-15s and F-16s) during the mid- to late-1980s. The last ANG squadron to fly the F-4C, the 123rd FIS of the Oregon ANG, exchanged its F-4Cs for F-15As in the spring of 1989. The 114th TFTS changed to F-16s at about the same time. As they left ANG service, the F-4Cs were retired to the boneyards at Davis-Monthan AFB or were converted into target drones. None remain in service with any ANG units today.

The RF-4C unarmed reconnaissance version of the F-4C was actually the first version of the Phantom to reach the squadrons of the Air National Guard. The first ANG unit to receive the RF-4C was the 106th TRS of the 117th TRW of the Alabama ANG, which received its RF-4Cs in February of 1971, replacing that units's RF-84F Thunderflashes.

The following ANG squadrons were eventually equipped with RF-4Cs:

The RF-4C was still in service with the ANG at the time of Desert Storm. In response to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, the 106th TRS of the 117th TRW of the Alabama ANG was deployed to Sheika Isa in Bahrain. This unit was relieved by the 192nd TRS of the Nevada ANG. Later, this unit was joined by RF-4Cs from the USAF's 12th TRS/67th TRW and the 28th TRS/26th TRW. Many of these planes were veterans of combat in Vietnam. When the first strikes against Iraq took place on January 17, 1991, the RF-4Cs were in action from the start. At first, they were limited to daylight operations, flying over Kuwait almost every day in search of Republican Guard units. They flew over Baghdad looking for such targets as rocket fuel plants, chemical weapons plants, and command and communications centers. The RF-4Cs were repeated diverted from other photographic missions to go and look for Scud launchers hiding in western Iraq. No RF-4Cs were lost in action, although one was lost in a pre-war accident.

Following the end of Desert Storm, all of the remaining RF-4Cs were withdrawn from USAF service. The RF-4G still serves with Alabama, Nebraska, California, and the Idaho ANG, as well as with the 189th TRTF of the Idaho ANG. The last of these is expected to remain in service until 1996.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, ex-USAF F-4Ds began to reach the Air National Guard. The first ANG unit to operate the F-4D was the 178th FIS of the 119th FIG of the North Dakota ANG, which got its planes in March of 1977. The following ANG units are known to have operated the F-4D:

During the early 1990s, the F-4Ds in the ANG were all withdrawn from service and were replaced by F-16 Fighting Falcons. By 1992, all F-4Ds had been withdrawn from the fighter interceptor groups of the Air National Guard. Today, no F-4Ds remain in service with any unit of the USAF or the Air National Guard.

F-4Es began to reach the Air National Guard in 1985, the aircraft having been former USAF planes which had been removed from active service. The following ANG squadrons were equipped with F-4Es.