Colonel Richard H Graham (ret’d) is best known as an SR-71 Blackbird pilot – but he earlier flew 210 combat missions in the F-4 during the Vietnam War, some of which were in the Wild Weasel role.


An F-4 from the 555th TFS dumping fuel to reduce gross weight for landing. In limited visibility conditions crews often jettisoned fuel to find each other.

I arrived at Udorn in Thailand in March 1971 to join the 555th Tactical Fighter Squadron ‘Triple Nickel’ and was eager to start flying combat missions. The USAF’s Seventh Air Force headquartered in Saigon controlled all combat missions flown in Vietnam. Each fighter base had its own mission planning and tactics office that further refined each unit’s role.

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