“Gray Ghosts” F-4N Phantom II VMFA-531 USS Coral Sea Hobby Master HA19014 scale 1:72
Hobby Master Scale Air Power models collection
One of the most famous and easily recognized fighter aircraft of the post-WWII era was the McDonnell F-4 Phantom II. This aircraft was developed as a private venture by the aircraft company but was soon ordered by the USN as a carrier-based attack aircraft. Its first flight took place on May 27, 1958 and it entered active service in December 1960. It wasn’t long after the F-4B appeared that a fly-off was set up with USAF front-line fighters. It was no contest, the F-4 performed so well that the USAF ordered their own variant, the F-4C. As time went on, the F-4 evolved into well over a dozen variants.
McDonnell Douglas F-4 15232 was produced as a “B” variant originally serving as the VF-14 “Top Hatters” CAG aircraft. Prior to transferring to the VMFA-531 “Grey Ghosts” in 1976 152323 was upgraded to an “N” variant. In November 1979 VMFA-531 deployed to the Indian Ocean for a 102 day deployment on board the USS Coral Sea. After supporting the Iranian Crisis VMFA-531 returned to El Toro in June 1980. On May 29, 1984 the “Grey Ghosts” received new F/A-18 Hornets and the last Marine F-4N was retired in 1985.