Searching for old photos in the National Archives of the United States can always bring good surprises, like the ones you can see here.
I have found four black and white photos taken on July 8, 1980, 43 years ago, when I was only four years old. The images show McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II fighters in the hangars of Construcciones Aeronáuticas Sociedad Anómica (CASA) in Getafe (Madrid), undergoing maintenance. Let's see the photos and some details. Click on the photos to see them enlarged.
Here we see 14 F-4 Phantom IIs of various types. There are at least three Spanish F-4Cs from the Ala 12 of the Spanish Air Force, three or four F-4Ds from the 401st Tactical Fighter Wing (401st TFW) of the USAF (with the letters "TJ" in black in their drifts indicating their air base, Torrejón de Ardoz, in Madrid), three F-4D of the USAF 23rd Fighter Squadron (23rd FS) of the USAF (with the initials "SP" in white letters, corresponding to Spangdahlem air base, Germany) and two F-4Es of the 50th Tactical Fighter Wing (50th TFW) of the USAF (with the initials "HR" in black letters, corresponding to Hahn Air Base, Germany). The F-4E on the right has the stop hook lowered.
Three Spanish F-4Cs from Ala 12, with their circular emblem showing their pet (a cat) and their motto "No le busques tres pies..." ("Don't look for three feet for them..."). In front of them are two F-4Ds of the USAF 23rd FS. In the photo it can be seen that the three-color camouflage of the Spanish F-4Cs followed the same pattern as the camouflage of the Americans.
Another photo of the planes in the previous image. We can see the three Spanish F-4Cs in the background, and in front of them two F-4Ds from the 23rd FS of the USAF. Apparently, the CASA facilities in Getafe were in charge of maintaining these fighters for both the Air Force and the USAF units deployed in Europe. The F-4 that we see in the foreground has the folding part of its starboard wing removed.
A USAF 50th TFW F-4E with its crew on board and canopies open, preparing to take off at Getafe. The aircraft in the photo is the 74-1045 (AF74-045). I found a photo of this same plane taken years later, in the one that appears with the gray decoration that began to be applied to the American Phantom II in the 1980s in imitation of the decoration used by the F-16. As a curiosity, in the background on the left we see the second prototype of the Spanish CASA C-101 Aviojet trainer, the XE.25-02 (EC-202). This aircraft is currently kept at the Basic Air Academy in León, very close to the first F-4C that Spain received, the C.12-01 (121-01).
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