F-4F Phantom II at Pittsburgh
Although the Phantom was to leave USAF service by 1996, it would enjoy a rather active retirement for the following two decades, with the huge stocks of retired airframes at Davis-Monthan being reworked into drones well into the 2000s, as well the presence of Luftwaffe-owned but American-marked F-4Fs at Holloman AFB for training with the 20th Fighter Squadron. Having operated both the German F-models and the similar US F-4Ee, the 20th in its final years flew the F-4F exclusively, taking advantage of the good weather in the American southwest to train German Phantom crews. I encountered F-4Fs several times before the unit was finally shut down in late 2004.
Gary Parsons “F-4F Pharewell” Air Forces Monthly July 2013