From Mississippi to Burg-Hohenzollern, 35 Years Ago

Official caption: “Two F-4E Phantom II aircraft assigned to the 512th and 526th Tactical Fighter Squadrons fly one of their last aerial missions over Castle Burg-Hollenzollern [sic], near Ramstein Air Base. Both squadrons will replace their Phantoms with F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft. Tail No. 512 is piloted by Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Bruce Gillett and navigated by Captain (CPT) Mike Craig. LTC Tom Speelman is piloting tail No. 526 with 1st Lieutenant (1LT) John Rogers navigating, 3/20/1985”

USAF photo 330-CFD-DF-ST-86-11795 by SSGT F. Serna.

Note their twin AIM-9s on the outside pylons. These Phantoms are ready to party. USAF photo 330-CFD-DF-ST-86-11795 by SSGT F. Serna.

An additional photo from the same shoot shows the Phantoms to be air-to-air heavy with four AIM-7 Sparrows and four AIM-9 Sidewinders.


The 526th TFS was formed in 1942 at Key Field in Mississippi and flew A-24 Banshees in North Africa before switching to P-47s for the Italian campaign. Upgrading to F-84s and later F-102s in the 1950s and 60s, they chopped to Phantoms in 1968. Based at Ramstein from 1952 through 1994, they missed out on Korea and Vietnam but were very active in the Cold War, often coming close to interloping Warsaw Pact MiGs during times of tension. They hung up their follow-on F-16s and inactivated in 1994.

Likewise, the 512th started at Key Field and flew P-47s in the ETO, being very active in smashing up the Germans in the tail-end of the Battle of the Bulge. After spending the 1950s and 60s flying F-84s and F-86s CONUS, they switched to Phantoms and headed to West Germany in 1976. They inactivated on 1 October 1994, their personnel and F-16s heading to Aviano.

Burg-Hohenzollern is, of course, still there.

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About laststandonzombieisland

Let me introduce myself. I am a bit of a conflict junkie. I am fascinated by war and warfare, assassination, personal protection and weaponry ranging from spud guns and flame throwers to thermonuclear bombs and Soviet-trained Ebola monkeys. In short, if it’s violent or a tool to create violence it is kind of my thing. I have written a few thousand articles on the dry encyclopedia side for such websites as, University of Guns, Outdoor Hub, Tac-44, History Times, Big Game Hunter, Glock Forum, Firearms, and Combat Forums; as well as for print publications like England Expects, and Strike First Strike Fast. Several magazines such as Sea Classics, Military Historian and Collector, Mississippi Sportsman and Warship International have carried my pieces. Additionally I am on staff as a naval consultant and writer for Eye Spy Intelligence Magazine. Currently I am working on several book projects including an alternative history novel about the US-German War of 1916, and a biography of Southern gadfly and soldier of fortune Bennett Doty. My first novel, about the coming zombie apocalypse was released in 2012 by Necro Publications and can be found at as was the prequel, Chimera-44. I am currently working on book two of that series: "Pirates of the Zombie Coast." In my day job I am a contractor for the U.S. federal government in what could best be described as the ‘Force Protection’ field. In this I am an NRA-certified firearms, and less-than-lethal combat instructor.

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