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You are here: Home  F-4 Rick's F-4 Biography

This entire F-4 website was moved to a new website that is much better and has a lot more content.  Click here to go to the F-4 Phantom II website.

Rick Keyt's USAF Biography - Flying the F-4 Phantom

United States Air Force, 1970 - 1976; Honorable discharge as a Captain.  Member of the Red River Valley Fighter Pilots Association.

Flew the F-4 Phantom II supersonic (mach 2+) fighter bomber for five years.  The picture in the prior link shows an F-4E over southeast Asia with a 20mm canon (a six barreled gun capable of firing 6,000 rounds/minute) in the nose and 12 Mark 82 five hundred pound general purpose bombs - 6 on the centerline and 3 under each wing.  This was a typical ordinance load for close air support missions in 1972.  The outboard stations under the wings carry two 360 gallon external fuel tanks that could be jettisoned if necessary for more range and better maneuverability.

Combat missions in 1972 over North Vietnam, South Vietnam & Laos while a member of the 35th Tactical Fighter Squadron based at Korat Royal Thai Air Base, Thailand.

Sat nuclear alert as part of the single integrated operational plan (SIOP) (with a 1 megaton [the equivalent of 1,000,000 tons of TNT] nuclear bomb on my airplane) and air defense alert (intercepted Russian bombers approaching the coast of South Korea) at Kunsan Air Base, Korea, 1973.  F-4s on alert had to be airborne within ten minutes of being scrambled, which was always an adrenalin pumping experience.  Nothing quite like playing Monopoly or cards with the guys in the alert shack one minute and blasting into the sky five minutes later at 600+ knots in a supersonic jet fighter carrying four AIM-7 Sparrow radar guided missiles, four AIM-9 Sidewinder heat-seeking missiles and 700 rounds of 20mm ammunition.  In the picture above, my right hand is resting on an AIM-9 Sidewinder and my left hand is on a 360 gallon external fuel tank.  The yellowish rectangular strips above the wing and on the tail below the JJ are florescent lights for night formation flying.

F-4 instructor in the: (i) classroom (Aircraft General, Weapons Computer Release System & Combat Mission Planning), (ii) simulator, and (iii) airborne in the 35th Tactical Fighter Training Squadron at George Air Force Base, California, 1973 - 1976.

Twice picked up brand new F-4s from the McDonnell Douglas factory in St. Louis and delivered the airplanes to Tehran, Iran, for the Iranian Air Force during the rule of the Shah of Iran.

For articles I have written about my time in the USAF, see Flying the F-4.  See also, Dressed for the Aerial Office.


This page was last modified on February 29, 2012.

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