The Republic F-105D Thunderchief in Profile

By Chris Banyai-Riepl


Some have said that if you built a runway that ran completely around the world, Republic Aviation would build a plane that would need every inch of it. On a sweltering day in Thailand, with a full load of fuel and bombs, I am sure that many a Thud pilot felt that way. But once up in the air, the F-105 became something else. Down low, the Thud could scream along at very impressive speeds, all the while carrying an equally impressive weapon load. In the early part of the Vietnam War, between 1966 and 1968, three quarters of the bombs carried north were carried by F-105s. While remarkable in speed and carrying capacity, one thing the Thud could not do was maneuver, which is why by 1968 over half the inventory had been lost in combat. Still, the Thud soldiered on, with some going to the Air Force Reserves and some going to various Air National Guard units. But by the early 80s, the F-105's days were numbered, and on February 25, 1984, the last F-105 flight came to an end. While no longer flying, the Thud is still a popular sight in many museums around the world.

80th TFS, 347th TFW
Yokota AB, Japan, 1968

This F-105D is a rare one, as the 347th TFW only had the F-105D for a few months before trading them in for Phantoms. The GR tailcode identifies this plane as from the 80th TFS. Other units in this TFW included the 35th TFS (tail code GG) and the 36th TFS (tail code GL). The F-105s with the 347th TFW all went stateside when the unit received its F-4Cs.

An 11x17 print of this aircraft is available here.

F-105D The Grim Reaper/Hell's Angel
Lieutenant Chuck de Vlaming
354th TFS, 388th TFW
Takhli RTAFB, Thailand, 1968

This aircraft was the subject of Will Riepl's 1/32 F-105D back in the July 2004 issue. It features some interesting artwork of a winged skeleton holding a Gatlin gun, with the name "Hell's Angel" behind it. On the intake, a popular place for aircraft names, is the name "The Grim Reaper" in an Old English typeface. The pilot's name is in a similar typeface along the canopy rail.

An 11x17 print of this aircraft is available here.

305th TFS, AFRES
Tinker AFB, Oklahoma, 1972

Converted from a Military Airlift Squadron, the 305th received their first F-105s in April of 1972. They carried a blue tailband with the word "Sooners" in white, and had tail codes of UG. A year later, in May of 1973, the unit was redesignated the 465th TFS and the UG tail codes were replaced with SH. By January 1980, the unit had completed the transition from the F-105 to the F-4D.

An 11x17 print of this aircraft is available here.

F-105D "Superhog"
149th TFS, 192nd TFG, Virginia ANG
Byrd Field ANGB, Virginia, 1982

The 149th TFS with the Virginia ANG was the first Air National Guard unit to receive the F-105, back in February of 1971. Many of these aircraft were veterans of the Vietnam War, such as this one. This aircraft was the famous "Polish Glider," flown by Major Donald J. Kutyna of the 44th TFS. The people at Virginia ANG, not to be outdone, put a large Superman-style emblem on this Thud, with a running razorback and the word "Superhog" on the emblem.

An 11x17 print of this aircraft is available here.

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