Flying the F-4D in Vietnam

During the Vietnam War, Colonel Gaillard R Peck, Jr (ret’d) flew 163 combat missions in the F-4D. Here, he recounts the mission for which he was awarded a Silver Star and gives insight into the operations of his squadron.

Two 433rd TFS Phantoms formate on a KC-135 for fuel before heading off to drop their bombs. Peter E Davies collection

Every warrior has stories about his or her experiences in combat. Often you hear statements like: “My Dad was in World War Two (or Korea or Vietnam), but he doesn’t talk about it.” That attitude reflects the horror of war and that compels many to suppress those memories. My combat experience was really no different, except in the sense that it wasn’t up close and bloody. We fought with airplanes against mostly unseen enemies, who fought back with big guns hurling redhot projectiles at our jets from their antiaircraft artillery (AAA) pieces. Even though we didn’t see the ‘bad guys’ up close, it was personal. Some days were pretty uneventful and on others it was terrifying…

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