F-105D Thud at NMUSAF
The U.S. Air Force sent F-105s to Southeast Asia shortly after the Tonkin Gulf incident in the summer of 1964. The USAF operated the F-105D extensively in the air campaign against North Vietnam called Rolling Thunder. Although designed as a nuclear strike aircraft, the F-105 could carry a total of over 12,000 pounds of conventional ordnance — a heavier bomb load than a B-17. The F-105 was gradually replaced by the F-4 Phantom, and the USAF withdrew the last F-105D from service in July 1980.
The aircraft on display is painted and marked as it appeared while serving in the 357th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 355th Tactical Fighter Wing, based at Takhli Royal Thai Air Base in Thailand. The nickname Memphis Belle II refers to the B-17F that carried the same artwork during WWII. The two red stars under the cockpit represent the two MiG kills it claimed during the Southeast Asia War. It arrived at the museum in April 1990.