Wednesday, November 18, 2015

New Look

F-4D Phantom, tail number 7463 at the U.S. Air Force Academy (Source)
For those who have been paying attention (Juvat) you no doubt have already seen The Chant's new header. I spent quite a bit of time over the weekend working on this. It's less cluttered than some of the older versions (no doubt still too cluttered for Pogue) but I'm pleased with how it turned out. There are some new fellows up there in the pantheon, some you might recognize, some you might not. I'll be adding a new page to the blog in the next few weeks which will have some details about who all those guys are. Here's a sample...


I have waited far too long to introduce these men to you.

As Juvat noted, there is a code to what's up there. I actually thought about that, had some ideas which were rejected, the goal was to apply the KISS principle.

Keep. It. Simple. Stupid.

Though I have not a drop of German blood in me (to my knowledge) I tend to "over engineer" things at times. Much like those of the Teutonic persuasion.

Say what?

Okay, yeah all three of the "unpimp ze auto" VW ads. No diesel testing in any of them. Number three still makes me chuckle, lo these many years later.

The three aircraft depicted in the header are all associated with the writers of this here blog, that is, moi (The Sarge), Juvat, and Tuna. Actually Juvat is associated with both the F-4D and the F-15C. He flew both. (He also flew the F-4E, which had an internal gun but as he already has two birds up there, he doesn't get a third. Yet.)

The Mighty S-3 War Hoover (aka Viking) was Tuna's old ride. As he used to ride the boat out of Japan, I assumed he was a member of VS-21 (the S-3 depicted above). If I am wrong he will, no doubt, correct me.

For those of you who missed his post yesterday, we may be sans Tuna for a while. As he has discovered, blogging can be hard, time consuming, and mentally taxing. Even if you do it once a week. Tuna does put a lot of work into his posts (no, really) and the effort is appreciated. He won't be around for a couple of weeks, maybe even months. It's cool, when he gets back we'll all gather around and throw stuff at him.

Or not.

7463 as she appeared at Kadena AB, Okinawa, Japan (Note the ZZ tail code - Source)
7463 as she appeared at Kunsan AB, Korea (Note the WP tail code - Source)
You may notice that there are a lot of Phantoms here today. Nope, just one*. The Ace Jet as I like to call her, the mighty 7463. I have worked on this jet at both Kadena and at Kunsan, (Really Chief, she followed me home, can I keep her? Uh, no.) I'm not sure if Juvat ever got to fly her, she was assigned to the 35th Tactical Fighter Squadron (the Pantons), Juvat was in the 80th (the Juvats, no the squadron wasn't named after him, 'tis the other way 'round).

Now 7463 sits at the Air Force Academy out in Colorado Springs (which is actually in Colorado). That's her in the leading photo with her Triple Nickel tail code "OY" (555 TFSq, 432 TRWg at Udorn RTAFB in Thailand, a place I almost went, I think I've told that story). That's also her in the lower right corner in this overhead view -
Google Maps

The Collings Foundation actually has an F-4D painted up to look like 7463, down to the "OY" tail code when she was with the Triple Nickel. But it's not the actual original air frame, nope that's her up top.

Yup, that's the Collings Foundation's D-Model as seen in an earlier version of The Chant's header (March 2013) Yes, click to embiggen...

So why would the Collings Foundation take a perfectly nice F-4D Phantom and paint her up with a different tail number? Before I answer that, here's the Collings Foundation's "7463" in action.


So why did they paint her with the wrong tail number?

Well, do you see those two fellows in the header named Ritchie and DeBellevue? They were crewing 7463 together for five of those six red stars on her vari-ramp.

From Joe Baugher's excellent site -
7463 (MSN 1967) had 6 confirmed MiG-21 kills in Southeast Asia (Mar 1, 1972, Apr 16, 1972, May 8, 1972, May 10, 1972, Aug 28, 1972, Oct 15, 1972).  Now on display at USAF Academy, Colorado. (Source)
Somewhere I have the actual tail number of the Collings Foundation's F-4D but my Google-Fu is weak right now and my computer is misbehaving at the moment. (Actually it's my Interwebz connection, it's up and down at times, hey, but it's cheap and normally reliable. It might also be  the iPad of The Missus Herself. A machine which vexes me. It's too simple, anyone can use it. It takes all the wizardry and magic out of being a computer guy. And it sucks up bandwidth like a fat guy hitting the won ton at an all you can eat Chinese buffet! And yes, I do miss MS-DOS, why do you ask?)

I kind of consider 7463 to be "my" F-4. I spent a number of hours in both cockpits. Not flying, maintaining, still a lot of hours. On two separate bases. How many can say that?

Anyhoo. Comments, criticism, whines, and rants are invited as to the new header. I am all atwitter to hear your thoughts. (No, really.)





*Okay, technically two, the real 7463 and her Collings look-alike.

32 comments:

  1. A nice clean redesign honoring some real heroes. Well done.

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  2. Actually I noticed the new header yesterday. I like it, he symmetry appeals to me as do the subjects. I guess I'll be branded forever with that cluttered remark, huh? :-)

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    1. Heh. Not to worry, while I semi-disagreed with your assessment back then, I remembered it when working on the new header. So I was striving for cleaner and less cluttered.

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  3. As I said yesterday, I like it. I think it's a bit cleaner and less cluttered albeit with more pictures on it. Well done.

    About 463, While I was at the Kun, in the dark days of the Second Worst President ever and the slippery slope of the Military, we didn't always fly the 80th's jets. Sometimes we borrowed from the 35th and vice versa depending on Mission Capable rates. So, it is possible. I've got one of those "something familiar" memories about the jet, which could mean I had flown it, but more likely had seen it on the ramp. I'm going to rate it as a solid "Maybe".

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    1. I thought that was a possibility.

      For some reason I remembered her with five stars on the vari-ramp, not six, but that might just be the CRS kicking in.

      I seem to recall a C-model at Kadena with two stars on the vari-ramp. Can't remember the tail number though,

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    2. That one I know was an 80th bird. I've got a few sorties in it.

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    3. Do you remember the tail number?

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    4. Nah, I've killed those brain cells.

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  4. I must be hard core.
    I didn't notice the switch until it was mentioned on Monday.
    Then I looked and thought to myself ...or maybe I said to the cat, "That's nice."
    What I mean is, I don't often look at the headers or footers, and seldom look at sidebars.
    My focus is on the daily content, which, on this blog, seldom disappoints.

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    1. Thanks Skip, I appreciate that.

      So basically (as an old radar guy) you've learned to burn through the clutter.

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    2. That and one of my favorite expressions is:
      "Cut to the chase."
      Though, that has more to do with listening than reading.

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  5. Sarge, now that I’ve gone back and taken a closer look at the header I can see the difference, and I like it. But then yours is a site I visit daily. Your content is always an enjoyable read. As a 20 year old sailor on a tin can off Viet Nam I always marveled at the endless parade of F-4’s above me and landing on the carriers we followed and I enjoy your insight to my favorite jet. I’ve also now bought the book “Fighter Pilot” by Robin Olds in great part because I saw him in your header panel. Thanks for keeping this site so interesting.

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    1. Thanks Lou, I can't tell you how much I appreciate that. (Of course, the Phantom is my favorite jet as well!)

      I finished reading Fighter Pilot not long ago, loved it. Let me know how you like it!

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  6. I am ever grateful for serving in the USAF back in the early 70's. Great memories, good friends. So enjoyable building bombs in the jungles of Guam and Okinawa, then taking them to the flightline. F-4s, B-52's (a little bit of time with the F-111 when they deployed to Mountain Home AFB in Idaho). Loved my time in Idaho, duck hunting on the Snake River, riding motorcycles and camping in the desert, going up into the panhandle and into Canuck Land. Wish the Ex had not taken so many of my stuff from back then, especially the pictures. Good times, great friends.

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    1. From what I gather, things are different now. The Air Force we knew seems to be gone.

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  7. Was just thinking I can still smell the JP-4, :)

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    1. Heh. I can still feel the smack on the head from a nose gear door. My sergeant called out, I was up in the nose wheel well, I turned too quickly and BOOM.

      Yeah, that hurt, I learned from that experience.

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  8. Historical Note: FWIW I taught DeBellevue's sister at the Univ of Southwestern Louisiana, Lafayette, La. in my freshman Poli Sci Class while he was still in RVN. Renee was a long, tall drink of blond hair and boy, was she proud of her brother!

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    1. I do recall you mentioning that before.

      I'm guessing she was memorable.

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    2. Couldn't remember if it was here or over at Bucks (probably both--the fossilizing process again :) )

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  9. Too much black crepe on the header for me. I know folks have to go sometime, but those are amazing men. When I read Tuck's Luck, he had pictures of friends on his dresser in black frames. When I was just a pup, I found the non-fiction spot in the school library. I read every ww2 book in there, most more than once.

    I had a dark day when Rosie Rosenthal (b-17 pilot, and Nuremburg lawyer) passed on. My favourites were Thomas Mcquire in the 38, Jablonski in the 47, and Klingman in the F4U.

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  10. Looks great! I'm still trying to wrap my tiny sailor brain around the codes, but I'll figure it out eventually. No hints!

    Love the looks of a Phantom in the grove with the hook down.

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    1. Hints will not be forthcoming, per your request.

      And I'm cruel. Sort of.

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  11. Looks good! And one might think you 'like' Phantoms or something... :-D

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    1. Moi? Like Phantoms?

      Whatever gave you that impression?

      ;-)

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  12. Mmmm...Phantoms.

    Hey, what's that button do?

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Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)