The F4-D Phantom Jet prominently located at the Van Zandt County Veterans Memorial is on loan from the Air Force Museum at Wright – Patterson AFB in Dayton Ohio.
In 2000 the Jet was located in an Aircraft Boneyard in the Mojave Desert. It was slowly trucked to Canton, Texas at a cost of $57,000. It is the centerpiece to VZC Memorial Plaza today.
McDonnell Douglas Phantom F4-D is a twin engine, two seat long range supersonic jet and fighter-bomber. It first entered service in 1960 with the U.S. Navy. The Marines and Air Force also adopted their version and by the mid-60’s was a major aircraft for their services.
With a top speed Mach-2 it can carry over 18,000 pounds of weapons including air-to air missiles and air-to-ground missiles and numerous bombs.
The F-4 was used during the Vietnam War and was a major aerial factor the all three branches of the military, the Air Force, Marines and Navy.
The ID#64-964 we currently have on the Veterans Plaza is a 1966 McDonnell Douglas F-4D Phantom II. The F-4D could fly over 1500 miles per hour for almost 2000 miles.
The plane was manufactured in St. Louis, Missouri on April 27, 1966. It then went on to serve as a jet fighter in several militaries throughout the world. In its early years, this F-4D was stationed at Nellis Air Force Base, then deployed to Vietnam in 1971, and to Taiwan in 1972. For the next 29 years this jet was stationed all across the U.S. during its time in active duty. This jet was flown by Lt. Col. Field McConnell, who said it was, “one of the best F-4Ds we had.” McConnell explained that to an F4-D pilot or mechanic, “Best” would be measured by the speed of the aircraft, and the strength of the radar system. He noted that, “#965 had both.”
In 1991, it was retired from active flight status, and was transferred to an aircraft boneyard in Utah. In 1995, the F4-D was sent to Mohave, California for salvage with demilitarization of the aircraft being completed in February of 2004. The jet remained there until 2009 when it was loaned, and put on display here at the Van Zandt County Veterans Memorial.
In July 2019, the F4-D was painted back to its original silver color. Guillermo De La Cruz with DLC Aircraft Preservation Services, LLC San Antonio, Texas was contracted to restore the paint back to the original color of the Phantom F-4D featured on the Veterans Memorial Plaza.
The Fighter Jet was painted a solid light gray. It is the same color as the aircraft paint scheme when the aircraft was retired from active duty in 1991.
The company restored the aircraft in accordance with the National Museum of the USAF (NMUSAF) and USAF Technical orders. All markings were painted to meet NMUSAF requirements.
The aircraft belongs to the NMUSAF and is on loan to Van Zandt County.