f-104 smoke ii service history?

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Re: f-104 smoke ii service history?

Post by Tinman » Thu Mar 08, 2012 3:44 pm

Cool, will let you know ASAP.

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Re: f-104 smoke ii service history?

Post by zodiacflash » Sat Mar 10, 2012 10:55 am

I, of course, agree with everyone on this. This is another instance in which it would have been nice for the manufacturer to give a little history about the airplane. I've actually wondered about Smoke II for decades. When I started building models as a kid, I started with, and fell in love with, the century series aircraft, especially the F-104. I think it was the early 80's when I remember seeing a model of Smoke II for the first time in 1:48 scale. I got it and built it. I never did any real research on it until a few months ago. Internet sure does make it easy. And as Paul Harvey used to say, now we know... the rest of the story. The only thing I still wonder about is 21st Century's pilot's helmet. Did Col. Finney have a helmet decorated in stars and stripes with "MAD DOG" scrolled across the front, or did 21C take a little artistic license?
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Re: f-104 smoke ii service history?

Post by FIREBALL » Sun Mar 11, 2012 10:45 am

zodiac flash~~Strictly artistic license. His wasn't stars and stripes. His and all his men's helmets the day they departed George AFB were the basic olive-drab, as I recall. Normally they were white, but they were off to war. It was July of 1966, I was 13 at the time, and that was a long time ago, but that's my best recollection, as I and my younger brother and my Mom were all on the flightline that day to see him off. I noticed they gave the pilot action figure hair. He would've liked that! He had the military crew cut. Refer to my previous Postings to the VVMF Link and you'll see his picture that I submitted to their Site. And no, "MAD DOG" is fictional. His actual nickname was "FIREBALL." Rather ironic. I use that moniker now in his honor. I don't think he would mind. Any other questions from you or any of this Site's members please feel free to ask. It's one way I keep his memory alive....

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Re: f-104 smoke ii service history?

Post by FIREBALL » Tue Dec 17, 2013 12:18 pm

Greetings fellow members! I recently came across two photos of my Dad's aircraft, the real Starfighter 57-0925. I tried to Post them here but was unsuccessful, possibly because I admit I'm not too techno-savvy. So I'm providing a Link to my Dad's Facebook Page which I created in his honor. Both of the photos are on it. One is at the top as the Cover Photo. It shows the aircraft on the ramp at Udorn Royal Thai Air Force Base. The photographer is unknown. The picture had to have been taken on or after July 20, 1966 (arrival date) or on or before August 1, 1966 (loss date). The other photo can be found by clicking on "PHOTOS" and you will see a formation of four F-104's; 57-0925 is the second aircraft from the bottom. The photographer is unknown, and it is unknown who the pilot is although it could be my Dad. I've attempted to have the photo dated by contacting the Site where I found it, the USAF, even the National Archives...but no one has an answer. Just the same, enjoy. I thought you all would find the pictures interesting. And to the two members who sent me their models almost 2 years ago now, thank you again. I recently moved and am pleased to report that both planes survived with no damage! :)

https://www.facebook.com/ColonelTomFinn ... brancePage

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Re: f-104 smoke ii service history?

Post by tmanthegreat » Tue Dec 17, 2013 2:31 pm

Here you go, Fireball!

Image

Image

Thanks for all the great history about your father's plane. I actually have the model of it sitting out on display at the moment :D
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Re: f-104 smoke ii service history?

Post by FIREBALL » Tue Dec 17, 2013 8:03 pm

tmanthegreat: Thank you for Posting those photos. Most appreciated. And if you or anyone you know can establish a month and year for the bottom photo that would be great. As stated, I've tried several avenues with no results. After researching I've discovered that 57-0925 was built in fiscal year 1957, hence the "57", and "0925" means it was the 925th Starfighter off the assembly line. So the picture was taken sometime after 1957 and before early July 1966, when camo paint was applied. If it can be dated someday that will answer my question, "Could that be my Dad in the driver's seat?" Thanks again! :)

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Re: f-104 smoke ii service history?

Post by tmanthegreat » Tue Dec 17, 2013 10:08 pm

If it helps, for a very rough estimate, the bottom picture was likely from the early 1960s when the unpainted silver was still a common scheme on most USAF planes. The USAF reintroduced camouflage during the Vietnam War for combat aircraft, with the well-known South East Asia (SEA) Scheme of light green, dark green and tan over either grey or black being introduced in 1966. The SEA scheme is what is on the "Smoke II" F-104.

I know that the first 21c F-104 model (often called the "silver USAF" version) is also from the 479th TFW, 476th TFS, and somewhere I read that its scheme dated from about 1960. Its in the photo below, top left:

Image

Your pictured F-104s don't look that much different, so I would again guess early 1960s.
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Re: f-104 smoke ii service history?

Post by FIREBALL » Wed Dec 18, 2013 10:58 am

tmanthegreat: I'm also guessing late '50's or early '60's. Thank you for the info and the additional picture. I'm going to try the DoD next in my quest to date the photo. I'll certainly let the Members know here should I ever receive a definitive answer.

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Re: f-104 smoke ii service history?

Post by Grognard » Wed Dec 18, 2013 3:00 pm

Ran across an article about the Berlin Crisis on 1962, and the tail number was listed as a deployed AC.

"435 TFS 479 TFW September 19, 1961 to Ramstein AB, Germany from George direct, until January 22, 1962 56-0886, 56-0887, 56-0902, 56-0904, 56-0927, 56-0928, 56-0934*, 56-0935, 56-0936, 56-0938, 57-0912, 57-0915, 57-0921, 57-0923, 57-0925, 57-0926*, 57-0927, 57-0930 th F-104D: 57-1332*, 57-1334* (from 434 TFS) th * stayed to the end of the period (to 436 TFS) "

If The F-104C entered service with USAF Tactical Air Command as a multi-role fighter and fighter-bomber, only 77 were built. The 479th Tactical Fighter Wing at George AFB, California, was the first unit to equip with the type in September 1958. The 435th received their F104 in 1959. The unit stayed at George AFB, they last deployed with F-104's to Vietnam in June, 1966, and when they retturned they were re-equiped with F4 Phantoms.

This give you a window of 1959 - 1965 (?) that the planes were in Natural Metal. And May have been camoed just before the first deployment to SEA in 1965.

The Aviation safety Network list the loss of your father's plane, but I didn't see any details. But the manufacturing number might help in getting a better history on the plane.

183-1242, F-104C-10-LO, 57-0925. 479 TFW 435 TFS, w/o - 01.August 1966, combat loss
shot down by a SA-2 SAM over North Vietnam while escorting a F-105G Wild Weasel mission

http://aviation-safety.net/wikibase/wiki.php?id=47133

Hope this helps with your search.

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Re: f-104 smoke ii service history?

Post by granch » Wed Dec 18, 2013 3:40 pm

Fireball, I've been moved with your father's story and your own if I can imagine. It might also have been something very special for you to discover one time a first model of his plane. Now, it makes of this model a personal comemorative monument for your family. And if I get this impressive model, I'll remember Colonel Finney. Thank you.

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Re: f-104 smoke ii service history?

Post by FIREBALL » Wed Dec 18, 2013 7:57 pm

Grognard: Thank you very much for the info and the Link. Very interesting.

granch: Thank you for your kind comments. The model is indeed an impressive tribute.

More info about my Dad can be found on the Net by Googleing "Colonel Arthur Thomas Finney" or by visiting his Facebook Page I created at "Colonel Tom Finney Remembrance Page".

Thank you both!

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Re: f-104 smoke ii service history?

Post by FIREBALL » Fri Feb 27, 2015 10:29 am

To all who may still be interested: I had mentioned previously that a replica of my Dad's aircraft, "Smoke II", was on display at the March Field Air Museum in Riverside, California. It has since been relocated and is now on display at the Yank's Air Museum in Chino, California. A Link is below. Any of you who might visit the area some day are encouraged to see it. I would suggest calling first to ensure it's still there as aircraft are moved every so often.

And thank you again to the two Forum Members who sent me their scale models of "Smoke II." I have one and my younger brother has the other, as family keepsakes. It was very much appreciated.

https://yanksair.com/ynarticles/detail/ ... f-2013/98/

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Re: f-104 smoke ii service history?

Post by grockwood » Fri Feb 27, 2015 3:03 pm

I just found this post about the Smoke II F104. I appreciate my plane model much more knowing the sacrifice your father made. Thank you and your family for sharing your father with us.

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Re: f-104 smoke ii service history?

Post by FIREBALL » Fri Feb 27, 2015 8:11 pm

You are most welcome. As a reminder, a lot of information regarding my Dad can be found on the Net by conducting a Search with his name, and by visiting the Facebook Page I created for him, the "Colonel Tom Finney Remembrance Page." Thank you!

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Re: f-104 smoke ii service history?

Post by NWarty » Sat Feb 28, 2015 1:38 pm

Awesome stuff Fireball!

Which reminds me, I need to fix my Smoke's pitot tube.

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Re: f-104 smoke ii service history?

Post by FIREBALL » Sat Feb 28, 2015 9:22 pm

Glad you enjoyed the info.
Always happy to share my Dad's story to help promote his legacy.
:)

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