Gulf War Battle Damage
F-4G "Wild Weasel" Phantom 69-7571 (Crashed/Destroyed)
This F-4G Advanced Wild Weasel was from the 81st TFS, 52 TFW, Spangdahlem AB Germany
(Tail Code 'SP') deployed to Sheikh Isa AB, Bahrain and was one of the last F-4 units in operation. This was the only F-4G lost during Desert Storm. It crash landed at KKMC (FOL 1) due to fuel starvation after small arms hits punctured fuel tanks on January 18, 1991 [Gulf War 1991 Chronology By Easy Tartar]. Original reports stated it was a mechanical failure. It became the 7th US Combat Loss. Both crew members Capt Tim Burke (pilot) and Capt Jaun Galindez (EWO) ejected safely.
Coming back from a target it missed the orbit of the tanker it was to refuel from. There was not enough fuel to fly past the tanker and then circle back to line up for refueling so the pilot decided to land at Al Kharj Airbase, Saudi Arabia. As luck [bad luck] would have it, heavy earth moving equipment had accidentally cut the runway landing lights and the base was covered in fog. The F-4G was right over the runway, but just couldn't see it. The crew made several landing attempts at KKMC, which was basically zero-zero at the time. On the 5th pass Capt Burke ran out of gas so the crew members [successfully] ejected and 69-7571 bellied in. After the crash SMSgt Beebe and the 2951 CLSS ABDR team assigned at KKMC stripped it and buried it in the desert.
To this day a lot of speculation exists about the actual cause of the crash. But according to the Air Force Historical Research Agency report titled "USAF MANNED AIRCRAFT COMBAT LOSSES 1990-2002" the F-4G Wild Weasel aircraft was hit while flying against air defense sites in Iraq and as a result lost fuel. The two crew members were rescued because they ejected after returning over friendly territory.
On Dec 3, 2009 Mike Gardner a pilot in the squadron during the war
left a message on the
stating 69-7571 diverted out of the tanker tracks to the
designated alternate airfield. The alternate was WXSOF. The aircrew made
three attempts to find the runway but had to eject on short final when the
jet ran out of gas.