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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.
VF-74 “Bedevilers” were the first USN squadron to deploy with the F-4 Phantom II. In July 1961 VF-74 traded their Douglas F4D Skyrays for the F4H-1, later to become the F-4B thereby becoming the “First In Phantom”. During the next twenty years VF-74 would fly three variants of the Phantoms 13 times on Mediterranean cruises and twice to SEA. 148390 was the 75th F-4B constructed for the USN and the USMC. The F-4B was eventually upgraded to F-4N standards.
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