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GB Tail Code On Static Display F-105D

Sun Mar 23, 2008 10:17 pm

The F-105D on display at the Commemorative Air Force Museum at Midland, Texas has a tail code "GB" painted in black on the vertical stabilizer. I've searched everywhere I can think to search and can find no reference to such a tail code being used by a tactical fighter squadron during the Viet Nam war. What I did find is that the 347th TFW had the 35th, 36th, and 80th TFS's assigned during the first half of 1968 (flying F-105Ds and Fs), with tail codes 'GG' 'GL' and 'GR' respectively.

Now, at one point the F-105D in question was on display at Gila Bend, Arizona, before being moved to Midland. I don't have photos of the airplane while it was displayed there but my gut feeling is that it carried the GB tail code symbolically. I suspect that when it was transferred to the museum at Midland, the folks there thought the GB tail code was legitimate and let it remain. Serial number of the F-105D in question is 59-1739. It's an early production D.

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RE: GB Tail Code On Static Display F-105D

Tue Mar 25, 2008 2:09 am

"GA" was the 35th Tactical Fighter Wing out of George AFB, pre "WW".

It may be a made up tail code so as not to provide attention to one particular wing/squadron. I know we did that type of thing at Lockheed with our models, rather than use an actual aircraft serial number we used employee numbers.
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RE: GB Tail Code On Static Display F-105D

Tue Mar 25, 2008 2:54 pm

Quoting 474218 (Reply 1):
"GA" was the 35th Tactical Fighter Wing out of George AFB, pre "WW".

I served at George AFB in the 561st and later the 562nd TFS's when the F-105G Wild Weasels were there so I'm familiar with the GA tail code. One J. J. Smith demanded the WW code be put on our F-105s when the newly arrived F-4Gs came to the base with the WW already painted on. J. J. said the '105s were the first to wear them and had the right to wear 'em again. The WW appeared on the '105s shortley thereafter.

As I commented in the first thread, the GB appears to stand for Gila Bend, where the airplane was on static display, but for some reason I seem to recall seeing a photo or two of operational F-105s with the GB code. Might just be my memory not working as well as it ought.
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RE: GB Tail Code On Static Display F-105D

Wed Mar 26, 2008 6:30 pm

It does seem to be more than a coincidence that the CAF Museum 'Thud' is marked with a "GB" tail code having come from Gila Bend. That said, I have seen many photos taken of aircraft stored or used at Gila Bend and I don't recall any of them with a "GB" tail code added.

When I visited the Air Force Museum at Warner-Robins in GA for the first time in 1988 they had a two-seater 'Thud' in store behind the museum with an "RG" tail code. This was definitely a non-standard application with the lettering in a noticeably different font. At a guess I would say that "RG" stood for 'Robins Georgia' .

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RE: GB Tail Code On Static Display F-105D

Wed Mar 26, 2008 10:48 pm

A hard plane to track down.

An older picture of her

Here's an article that indicates the aircraft at one point operated with the 469th


I think it's safe to say this aircraft probably didn't operate with a GB tail code.
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RE: GB Tail Code On Static Display F-105D

Thu Mar 27, 2008 3:40 am

I checked Patrick Martin's book, "Tail Code" for the GB marking. He listsGB as belonging to the 479 TFW / 431 TFS flying the F-4 in the late 60s to early 70s. Later, 479 TFW / 4546 TTS carried the code, also while in the F-4. The last entry was the 35 TFW / TFRS, once again while flying the F-4. There were no entries of the F-105 carrying the code. This was in a period where the Wing was designated by the first letter of the code and the squadron the second. Later, all aircraft were assigned to the wing so the squadron unique codes were done away with.

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Re: GB Tail Code On Static Display F-105D

Tue Mar 07, 2017 5:14 am

My dad, Robert H. Bennett piloted this plane out of Takhli RTAB, Thailand with the 355 TFW. It was assigned there from July
1967 to October 1970. The original tail code was RM. As far as I know, the GB was added for Gila Bend.

Apparently, she's no longer in Midland. Anyone know where this plane is now?

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Re: GB Tail Code On Static Display F-105D

Tue Mar 07, 2017 5:20 am


Here's an image of RM 739 (S/N 59-1739). This is a painting my mom commissioned from a photograph taken by another member or the squadron.

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Re: GB Tail Code On Static Display F-105D

Tue Mar 07, 2017 12:11 pm

That's a very nice painting your Mother did Doug.

It reminds me of when my uncle, who flew Vickers Wellington bombers in WW2 and served with the RAF until retirement, had a birthday present from his wife of a painting.
My Aunt had asked a local artist to paint the Wellington aircraft her husband flew, this being the 1970's, pre internet and all that, the artist, a young lady, seems to have chosen not to go to say the local library and hire out an aviation book, or go to the RAF Museum in Hendon. (Around the same time my Dad took me there, I mentioned that it said this was the last Wellington left intact, my Dad shot back 'your Uncle Stuart crashed the rest of them!' He HAD been shot down a few times, serving in the Med theatre, been captured, then escaped, more than once. Until finally escaping for good, seems the Italians running the POW camps were a bit slack.
Anyway, no books to base a painting on, no trips to Hendon, what the artist did do was a beautifully rendered image of three red Wellington Boots, in staggered formation, complete with RAF roundels and dove like wings, in front of a blue sky and fluffy clouds.
The artist said she did not know what a Wellington looked like but had an idea.....Uncle Stuart loved it anyway!

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