The Gallery and the Archive are being updated. If you have any suggestions for our Gallery or would like to submit photos of your own,
please email us. We give full credit for
all submissions! But please do not send us photos to which you do not have the rights. If you find a photo on another
website, let us know and we will contact them to ask for permission to use the graphic. We greatly appreciate your help in
finding unique photos for the gallery and thank our submitters for sharing their memories. The selections below come to us
courtesy of Scott R. Wilson (526AMU), Richard Self (525FIS), Henk Scharringa (a regular contributor from the Netherlands),
and Norm Kelley (496FIS).
Sembach Bronco in Spain Here a North American Rockwell OV-10A-15-NH Bronco of the 601st Tactical Control Wing Tigers based out of Sembach AB, Germany is
seen resting on the sunny Spanish tarmac of Zaragoza Air Base. The OV-10 was borne out of a "tri-service" (USA/USAF/USMC)
specification called "LARA" (the Light Armed Reconnaissance Aircraft) that was issued at the end of 1963. It called for
an aircraft with very small wingspans of around 20 feet that could land in nearly any small clearing and use the same
ammunition and fuel as ground troops used. Over time various armament were fitted to the Bronco including 7.62 mm
and 12.7mm machine guns, 20mm cannon, as well as Sidewinder missiles. There were even test firings of recoiless rifles
mounted to the aircraft. This particular Bronco was eventually transferred to the Air Force of Venezuela
(Fuerza Aérea Venezolana or FAV) as FAV 9004. According to some sources, the FAV still operates approximately 15
OV-10A Broncos in the Forward Air Controller (FAC) and Counter-Insurgency (COIN) roles. Although we have not been
able to ascertain 67-14624's current disposition, it may be flying with the Grupo Aereo de Operaciones Especiales
No. 15 or Bronqueros, which still flies Border Patrol/COIN missions with the FAV.
Photo Credit: Scott Wilson.
Zwei Bird in Transit While stationed with the 526th Aircraft Maintenance Unit at Ramstein Air Base, Scott had occassion
to photograph this Sunny Zwei "Eye in the Sky." This Recon Rhino was probably assigned to the 38th Tactical Reconnaissance
Squadron based on the green & white checkerboard tail markings. The 38th TRS operated RF4-Cs from 1966 to 1991. 67-0469 is
a Block 36 C-model Recon Phantom which made it's final flight to AMARC in October of 1991. Scott captured this bird's photo
in September of 1983. Photo Credit: Scott Wilson.
Lucky Puppy Scott Wilson captured this 313TFS A-model F-16 outside a TabVee at Ramstein. The US Air Force
decided in October 1986 to convert 270 F-16A/B Block 15 Fighting Falcons to ADF standard. The ADF conversion is centered
primarily on upgrading the existing AN/APG-66 radar to improve small target detection and provide continuous-wave
illumination (this giving the ability to launch AIM-7 Sparrow BVR missiles). This Lucky Puppy became one of those converted
A-models although this appears to be a pre-conversion photo (Note: No bird-slicer IFF antenna forward of the canopy).
80-0555 eventually rotated back to the states and ended up with the
119 FS, 177th FG "Jersey Devils" in Atlantic City, NJ (The old stomping
grounds of your humble webmaster). 80-0555 finally ended up in the Kingdom of Jordan as part of Peace Falcon I and
became Royal Jordanian Air Force S/N 223. More history on this Falcon can be found on the
F-16 Airframe Details for 80-0555 at
F-16.net. Photo Credit: Scott Wilson.
Leopardus pardalis The Ocelot or "Painted Leopard" aka Leopardus pardalis is the mascot of the 81st Fighter Squadron, and
here Scott Wilson captured a Spangdahlem Leopard visiting Ramstein Air Base in April of 1984. This 52nd Tactical Fighter
Wing Phantom is a Block 53 E Model F-4 which eventually went to AMARC in December of 1990. Photo Credit: Scott Wilson.
Spanish Leopard Scott captured 72-0166 again in May of '84, but this time in Zaragoza, Spain. Photo Credit: Scott Wilson.
Cave Canem Here are a couple vintage photos of two F-86D-45-NA Sabres...Big Dog Sabres, courtesy of Norm
Kelley formerly of the 496th Fighter Interceptor Squadron based at Hahn Air Base. Long landing runs had been a problem
for the F-86D ever since its introduction. 52-3939 was a Block 45 Sabre which were the first model to feature a ribbon
drag parachute. The final disposition of 52-3939 is not known; however, 52-3938 was transferred to Denmark in 1962 as
spare parts source, and the large number of D-45 Sabres were transferred to the Japanese Air Self Defense Force. At the
time of these photos, I believe the 496th reported to the 86th Fighter-Interceptor Wing (this later changed to the 86th Air
Division in Nov '60). The 496th lost its last F-86D in August 1959 and began receiving new F-102A aircraft in December 1959.
After transitioning to the F-102A Delta Dagger, the 496th remained attached to the 86th AD until it was transferred to the
50th TFW until 25 November 1968. Photo Credit: Norm Kelley.
F-Model, Ready for Takeoff Here is an F-model Sabre of the 417th Fighter Interceptor Squadron, pilot aboard and attached to
ground power, ready for engine start. The F-model was the major production version of the day-fighter Sabre. 52-4657 is a
North American F-86F-30-NA Sabre; NA designating that it was built in California and Block 30 meaning it was a fighter-bomber
adaptation of the Sabre, capable of carrying two stores under each wing rather than just one. All four hardpoints could
handle either 120- or 200-US gallon drop tanks. If the maximum fuel load of two 200-gallon and two 120-gallon drop tanks
was carried, ferry range was 1600 miles and combat radius was 568 miles. Many Sabres in this series eventually went to
Spain & Venezuela. The quality of the photo prohibits us from determining the assigned pilot and crewchief; but, if
anyone has any additional information, let us know.
Photo Credit: USAF Photo via NARA via Henk Scharringa.
17th AF Shooting Star This 17th Air Force ride comes to us from Henk Scharringa; an avid plane spotter from the
Netherlands and regular visitor to American Air Base Open Houses and Air Shows. This particular Shooting Star is a
Lockheed T-33A-5-LO. Originally designated the TF-80C, the T-33 made its first flight in March 1948. Production
continued until August 1959 with 5,691 T-33s built. In addition to its use as a trainer, the T-33 has been used
for such tasks as drone director and target towing, and in some countries even as a combat aircraft. The final
disposition of 57-0594 is not known. If anyone has any additional information on this airframe,
let us know. Photo Credit: Henk Scharringa, copyrighted photo.
7030th ABW T-Bird Here is another unique submission from our favorite Dutch Plane Spotter. 53-5337 is a
Lockheed T-33A-1-LO, which is pictured here while it was with the 7030th Air Base Wing at Ramstein Air Base. The
T-33A was the only jet trainer in the USAF inventory from 1948 until the advent of the Cessna T-37A in 1957 and
the Northrop T-38A in 1961. The F-80/T-33 airframe was rather prolific. During the 1950s, 1,058 T-33s from the
US Air Force were delivered to almost 30 countries through the Military Assistance Programme. An additional 656
were built on licence by Canadair in Canada and 210 by Kawasaki in Japan. This brought the total production of
F-80 fighters and T-33 trainers to 8,288. The Air Force continued to operate the F-80 on minor duties until 1989.
The final disposition of 53-5337 is not known. If anyone has any additional information on this airframe,
let us know. Photo Credit: USAF Photo via Henk Scharringa.
VIP Samaritan While most of our photos are of fighter aircraft, none of us would have made it to Germany if
it were not for MAC/AMC transport aircraft. Henk photographed 51-3816 at Ramstein Air Base in 1972 while it was with the
7101st Air Base Wing. While very few of us would have ridden on this particular bird, we do have
quite a bit of history on it. 51-3816 began life as a T-29B (aka Consolidated Vultee or Convair CV-240). The T-29 was used by
the United States Air Force for medical evacuation and VIP transport and was designated as C-131 Samaritan, the
Strategic Air Command had them in service until 1975. The C-131 was eventually replaced by the C-9 Nightingale. This
particular C-131 was originally a multi-engine trainer (as the T-29 designation infers), but it was later converted to a
VT-29B configuration for VIP transport. During the 1960's, it served with the 3rd Air Force VIP Flight under the 66th TRW, and operated
regularly scheduled round trip passenger flights three days per week between RAF Northolt and Weisbaden Air Base, Germany.
You can read more recollections from one of 51-3816's former pilots--Col. Robert R. Arnau, USAF (Ret.)--on the
Convair page of the RAF Northolt website. Nearly all of the
USAF's C-131s left the active inventory in the late-1970s, with a few still serving in Air National Guard units until the
mid-1980s. Sidenote: The first prototype of the Southeast Asia vintage side-firing gunship program used the C-131 airframe.
This particular C-131 moved on to a less exciting life as a cargo carrier with Cool Air, Inc operating out of Spanaway, WA near
McChord AFB. 51-3816 carried the civilian registrations of N8049N, then N8022B, before being broken up for scrap in 1995.
Photo Credit: Henk Scharringa, copyrighted photo.
Deuces, Lined up & Ready! Here we find the Delta Daggers of the 525 Fighter interceptor Squadron Bulldogs lined up on
the taxiway outside Charlie Section at Bitburg. When France withdrew from NATO in 1966, it left a gap in the air defense network of Europe. Operation
CREEK ALE filled that gap by rotating Convair F-102’s, for air defense alert, to bases throughout Germany including Erding AB north of Munich.
In 1972, USAFE attempted to move the Bulldogs to Erding permanently; however, due to construction and contracting difficulties, the move was cancelled
and the 525 remained at Bitburg. Of interest to all you former Bulldogs out there, the Five-Two-Five is slated to stand back up at Elmendorf
AFB in Alaska as an F-22 raptor unit: Click Here for the story.
Photo Credit: Richard Self.
Dagger Night Maintenance Here a group of Delta Daggers get some late night tweaking. As mentioned above, operational control of the F-102 equipped Fighter Interceptor
Squadrons which rotated into Germany under OP CREEK ALE, were centralized under higher echelon units separate from their base hosts such as the 86th Air Division out
of Ramstein or the 52nd Fighter Group out of Erding. The Five-Two-Five Bulldogs officially joined their 36th Tactical Fighter Wing brethren in November of 1968 and remained
with the 36th until their de-activation in March of 1992. There are a number of Daggers to identify here (starting from the back): 0-61094 is a Convair F-102A-60-CO
Delta Dagger whose disposition is unknown; 0-61057 is also a Convair F-102A-60-CO which is known to have been converted to a PQM-102A; 0-61206 is a Block 65 A Model
F-102 which was converted to a PQM-102B; 0-62331 is a TF-102A-40-CO, disposition unknown; the Dagger in SEA Camo is 0-61044, a Block 55 Dagger which ended up as a
PQM-102B; 0-61217 is a Block 65 F-102A, disposition unknown; and 0-61236, a F-102A-70-CO Delta Dagger, was converted to a PQM-102B.
Photo Credit: Richard Self.
Sgt Andy Reporting for Duty! In this clipping from the 16 Feb 1966 Stars & Stripes graciously provided by Richard Self, we find
Sgt. Li'l Nan's Snowboy (AKA Andy)--mascot of the Five-Two-Five Bulldogs. Apparently, Sgt Andy's flight status was reduced
for not only failing to meet the height-weight check; but, he had developed a very bad shoe-chewing habit. Most "un-pilot-like."
Undeterred by his loss of flight status, Sgt Andy continued to man his post at the Zulu Alert at Bitburg AB.
Photo Credit: Richard Self.