4 June 1983

Republic F-105 Thunderchief flyover, 419th TFW, Hill AFB, 4 June 1983
Republic F-105 Thunderchief flyover, 419th TFW, Hill AFB, 4 June 1983. (U.S. Air Force)

4 June 1983: At Hill Air Force Base, Utah, the 419th Tactical Fighter Wing, the last U.S. Air Force unit flying the Republic F-105 Thunderchief supersonic fighter bomber, flew a Diamond of Diamonds 24-ship formation as the “Thud” was was withdrawn from service after 25 years to be replaced by the General Dynamics F-16.

Of 833 Thunderchiefs built by Republic Aviation Corporation, 334 were lost to enemy action during the Vietnam War. Though designed for air-to-ground attack missions, F-105s are officially credited with 27.5 victories in air combat.

Republic F-105D-30-RE Thunderchief 62-4242, 419th Tactical Fighter Wing, Hill AFB, Utah.
Republic F-105D-30-RE Thunderchief 62-4242, 419th Tactical Fighter Wing, Hill AFB, Utah.
Republic F-105F-1-RE Thunderchief 63-8287 at Hill AFB, Utah.
Republic F-105F-1-RE Thunderchief 63-8287, 419th Tactical Fighter Wing, Hill AFB, Utah.

© 2015, Bryan R. Swopes

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17 thoughts on “4 June 1983

  1. I was stationed at Hill 1960 and 1961. A GEEIA squadron. The highlight of my your was we moved out of the old wooden barracks and into the New ones down the street and we got new mattresses.

  2. I never flew her, but she was a great jet. Carried the heavy bombing responsibility for most of the war in SEA. Impressive.

  3. I have seen this photo before and always thought it was faked. One four-ship is tough enough to make look symmetrical, never mind SIX! BUT, if it’s on this site, I believe it’s the real deal. A testament both to the state of their training and precision and to the veracity of thisdayinaviation.com! Thanks.

  4. Search for “Thunder”,as a Texas reserve unit does the last engine start,taxi,takeoff,flyover and recover of 24 F-105’s. A unique sound as the aircraft make a large formation,during the flyover.

  5. The 457th TFW did a similar diamond of diamonds fly by at our deployed to Hill AFB after our last F-105 ORI. I think it was in the spring of 1979. But memory slips.

  6. Kind of a side note. I was riding my Honda 4 banger passed the end of the north active at Mc Clellan AB in the summer of 1980, When a 105 lunched right over my head on full burn. My bike and I ended up in the right hand ditch. No damage, But some real ring ears.LOL…..

  7. Cut my Teeth on F-105G and the J75-P19W Engine in the Georgia ANG. Then went Active for 20 Years. Loved it and Still bending Wrenches today almost 42 Years now.

  8. I know there was one of this unit’s jets painted in Euro 1 wraparound. Wasn’t there one painted in a multi color desert tan just before this retirement date ?

  9. That formation is just perfect! Wowzer!

    The picture of the F model, 63-8287, provides a little more clarification on my comment about the 105s pictured on 1 Jun 24. According to Joe Baugher’s website of tail numbers, this aircraft retired to the Octave Chanute Memorial Air Museum in Rantoul IL. This means the F model I couldn’t read the full tail on in the other photo is either 63-8285, which went to Davis-Monthan, or 63-8288, which went to MASDC with no further info.

    The single-seater above, 62-4242, went to Vance AFB for display.

  10. I just noticed that the photo of the diamond of diamonds on the 419th website says it was taken in 1984, not 1983 as noted above.

    1. Thank you, Eric. The website that you mention is in error. As evidence, I offer The Daily Herald (Provo, Utah) Vol. 109, No. 281, Sunday, 26 June 1983, at Page 16, where the photograph appears in an article about Medal-of-Honor recipient Colonel Leo Thorsness’s final flight. The Hill Top Times (Hill Air Force Base, Utah), Vol. 37 No. 22, Friday, 3 June 1983, Page 1, has an article about the 419th Tactical Fighter Wing’s final F-105 flight, to occur the following day, Saturday, 4 June 1983.

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