1986 Image Shows Crashed F-4 Phantom at Gulfport, Mississippi

crashed f 4 phantom gulfport  1986 Image Shows Crashed F-4 Phantom at Gulfport, Mississippi(Image: US Air Force, public domain)

This black and white photo shows the aftermath of an incident that took place on March 14, 1986 at Gulfport, Mississippi, in which an F-4 Phantom sustained damage during an emergency landing and ended up in a field not far from the main runway.

The jet, serial number 66-7675, which belonged to the 170th Tactical Fighter Squadron of the Illinois Air National Guard, was returning from a training mission at the time.  The Phantom remained largely intact and, although the crew was forced to eject, nobody was injured during the incident.

Keep reading – dive the submerged F-4 Phantom of Subic Bay and visit the crashed Phantom at the Hanoi Aviation Museum.

Crashed US F-4 Phantom at Hanoi People’s Air Force Museum, Vietnam

crashed f 4 phantom hanoi  Crashed US F-4 Phantom at Hanoi People’s Air Force Museum, Vietnam(Image: Monty McMont, reproduced with permission)

The Vietnam War proved to be an effective way of stocking the People’s Air Force Museum in Hanoi with the most advanced American hardware of the day.  This battered F-4 Phantom, shot down on May 14, 1967, is displayed in pride of place atop a pile of smashed jet engines, propellers and  the twisted metal wreckage of other US aircraft.

crashed f 4  Crashed US F-4 Phantom at Hanoi People’s Air Force Museum, Vietnam(Image: Monty McMont, reproduced with permission)

The Phantom – an F-4B model – served with the U.S. Navy before its tenure was ended abruptly via the business end of a Russian-built surface to air missile (SAM).  The mangled jet, build number 153001, retained its overall shape despite extensive damage sustained in the crash, and has become one of the museum’s main attractions.  Check out this other impressive F-4 Phantom wreck submerged in Subic Bay.

crashed f 4 phantom hanoi peoples air force museum  Crashed US F-4 Phantom at Hanoi People’s Air Force Museum, Vietnam(Image: DANYSTYLE, reproduced with permission)

HMS Ark Royal F-4 Phantom Wears Combined US and UK Markings

US f 4 phantom british markings1  HMS Ark Royal F-4 Phantom Wears Combined US and UK Markings(Image: U.S. Navy, public domain, via eacott.com.au)

This unconventionally marked F-4B Phantom depicts a U.S. Marine Corps warplane operating from a UK aircraft carrier – HMS Ark Royal – during the 1970s, sporting Royal Navy squadron insignia on its tail fin.  The Phantom, of USMC fighter-bomber squadron VMFA-531 Grey Ghosts, was primarily assigned to the USS Forrestal during a Mediterranean deployment from September 1972 to July 1973.

US f 4 phantom british markings 2  HMS Ark Royal F-4 Phantom Wears Combined US and UK Markings(Image: via eacott.com.au, believed to be work of U.S. Navy, public domain)

From February to March 1973, a number of the Phantoms operated from Ark Royal.  According to this forum, the F-4 above (151477) developed a fault before the ship docked at Malta, where U.S. personnel were unwelcome at the time.  Unable to depart with the other American Phantoms, the jet was hidden in a hangar below deck and later emerged with the tail markings of a Royal Navy 892 Squadron F-4K.

Submerged F-4: The Phantom of Subic Bay

F 4 phantom subic bay1  Submerged F-4: The Phantom of Subic Bay(Image: Anders Poulsen, reproduced with permission)

There are numerous reasons why ocean floors are littered with the remains of military aircraft, from war and conflict to mechanical malfunction and the occasional artificial reef. But it’s not often divers stumble across the submerged remains of one of the world’s greatest warplanes. Not so for photographer Anders Poulsen, seen here exploring the wreck of an F-4 Phantom on the bottom of Subic Bay in the Luzon Sea, Philippines.

submerged f 4 phantom subic bay  Submerged F-4: The Phantom of Subic Bay(Image: Anders Poulsen, reproduced with permission)

While the identity of this Phantom remains elusive, it most likely served with the U.S. Navy and is probably an F-4B, J or N model. The Phantom’s intact condition and numerous missing components suggest it didn’t crash or ditch. During the Vietnam War it wasn’t uncommon for badly damaged aircraft to be stripped for parts and, in some cases, even pushed overboard to free up space.

crashed f 4 phantom subic bay  Submerged F-4: The Phantom of Subic Bay(Image: Anders Poulsen, reproduced with permission)

Could that be the case with this F-4? A more tragic possibility is that the Phantom may have been a victim of the fire aboard the USS Forestal fire in 1967. With the fire extinguished, the Forrestal steamed toward Subic, where it moored at Naval Air Station Cubi Point. Was this Phantom stripped for parts during the cruise and pushed overboard at the mouth of Subic Bay?

f 4 phantom US navy  Submerged F-4: The Phantom of Subic Bay(Images: top, left, right: U.S. Navy, public domain)

We may never know, but its watery grave has saved it from being scrapped or shot down as a target drone – a common fate for retired Phantoms. For the time being, this aircraft, originally built by McDonnell Douglas in St Louis, will remain a popular destination for scuba divers exploring the wrecks of Subic Bay. The more active Phantoms above show what the jet once looked like.