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F4 Phantom in Orlando,Fl


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Had not been to Orlando in several months until this weekend. Saw this newly erected monument along Toll Road 408 . Wife snapped the picture at 70mph in as-usual heavy Orlando traffic.


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River Patrol

Awesome monument......is it part of a bigger museum? BTW, your wife takes a great photo at 70 mph!

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It is painted in Vietnam era camouflage. According to the book "Tail Code" code OY was used by the famous 555th Tactical Fighter Squadron while assigned to the 432nd Tactical Recon Wing January 1968 to August 1973.


According to the web, you are looking at Joe Kittinger Park, Orlando, Florida.




"This aircraft was dedicated in Joe Kittinger Park on December 14, 2014. This particular aircraft was flown by Colonel Kittinger prior to his being shot down in the Vietnam conflict and his subsequent imprisonment in the infamous Hanoi Hilton...."On March 1, 1972, Col. Kittinger, commander of the Triple Nickel Squadron, shot down a MiG-21 fighter while flying this F-4 Phantom."



Additional info:




US Air Force Colonel Joe Kittinger is a legendary pilot, having made history in August, 1960 for his daring parachute jump from 102,800 feet in a high-altitude balloon. He set four world records with that jump which have only recently been broken by Felix Baumgartner’s jump from nearly 128,000′. During a distinguished USAF career, Kittinger served as a test pilot, Squadron Commander, and Vice Wing Commander. He flew 483 combat missions over three tours during the Viet Nam war. His first two tours were in the Douglas B-26K Counter Invader ground attack aircraft, with his third being with the 555th FS in the F-4D Phantom II. He shot down a North Vietnamese MiG-21 during that period, however his luck ran out on May 11th, 1972 just before the end of his final combat tour. His jet received devastating hits from an air-to-air missile strike over Thai Nguyen. He and his WSO Lt. William J. Reich ejected safely, but spent the next eleven months as a prisoners of war in the Hanoi Hilton where they were tortured. In March, 1973, Kittinger regained his freedom and returned home to the USA. He continued his Air Force career until retiring as a colonel in 1978. He subsequently set two world ballooning records and won numerous ballooning competitions, as well as serving as Felix Baumgartner’s CapCom during his balloon jump on October 14th, 2012 which broke Kittinger’s records from 1960.


More photos from the dedication:




Oddly enough, Kittinger later flew this same aircraft "when at RAF Lakenheath in England with the 48th Tactical Fighter Wing (1975-77)"

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