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Flying the F-4 Phantom Over Vietnam – a talk by Colonel Rich Graham

Written by: Paul Hartrup

Another great talk from Rich Graham at the Orsett Hall Hotel for the Vulcan Restoration Trust.

Rich Graham has previously spoken about his exploits flying the SR-71 Blackbird spy plane. On 5 September, however, he looked back to 1971-72 when he flew the iconic F-4 Phantom on ‘Wild Weasel’ missions over North Vietnam.

The ‘Wild Weasel’ concept was developed by the US Air Force in 1965 after the introduction of Soviet SAM missiles into the Vietnam War saw increased numbers of US strike aircraft being shot down over North Vietnam. Armed with radar-seeking missiles, Rich and his colleagues had the job of destroying the radars and SAM installations of North Vietnam’s air defence systems.

Rich’s time on the F-4 was relatively brief but it was a hectic one as the US Air Force tried to end the Vietnam War with a bombing campaign directed at the North Vietnamese capital, Hanoi, in what became known as the “10 days of Christmas” of 1972.

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