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Inside the Gates: F-4 Phantom moved from JBER gate for maintenance work

Published: Feb. 24, 2021 at 8:49 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The F-4 Phantom that was once outside of the Government Hill gate at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson has moved for maintenance.

“Now it’s going to get its recoat to protect against corrosion and the elements for the next 10 years,” said Tech. Sgt. Christopher Dente of the 3rd Maintenance Squadron, the group overseeing the maintenance work.

The aircraft had originally been part of the Hawaii Air National Guard before it found its way to Alaska. The F-4 Phantom joined the 21st Tactical Fighter Wing for use as an air battle damage repair aircraft.

“That’s where you take basically any aircraft repair materials you can to patch up bullet holes, shrapnel damage, anything like that to get the aircraft back into the fight as soon as possible,” Dente said.

The aircraft served in that role until 1987, when the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force took command of it. It’s now one of many aircrafts on display around JBER’s various entrances.

This time, maintenance crews used a crane for the project because the old way to move the aircraft no longer worked.

“Due to the construction around the base, and the upgrades to the gate, we can longer tow the aircraft down the street to the maintenance facilities,” Dente said.

After maintenance, which is expected to take around six months to complete, the F-4 Phantom will be placed in an open field just past the entrance, so it will be easier to move the next time it needs repairs.

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