RF-4E farewell 348 Tactical Reconnaisance Sqdn, Larisa Air Force Base
“The end of the film”
The 5th of May marked the final flight of the mighty RF-4E Phantom II in Greece. A small ceremony was held to commemorate this event.
A day before this event a spotters day was held on Larisa Air Force Base
But first a little bit of history:
348 TRS was formed on the 20th of August 1953, being part of the 112th Combat Wing at Elefsina Air Force Base.
Aircraft operated by the 348 TRS:
1953 - 1955 Republic F-84G (R) Thunderstreak
1955 - 1957 Lockheed RT-33A Shooting Star
1956 - 1991 Republic RF-84F Thunderflash
1978 - 2017 McDonnell Douglas RF-4E Phantom II
The last type being used by the Squadron was a mix of different batches of aircraft.
A batch of new aircraft ordered from McDonnell Douglas.
77-0357 77-0358 77-1761 77-1762 77-1763
77-1764 77-1765 77-1766
The second batch were aircraft obtained from the Luftwaffe.
69-7449 66-7450 69-7454 69-7460 69-7464
69-7471 69-7476 69-7482 69-7486 69-7487
69-7491 69-7493 69-7495 69-7496 69-7498
69-7499 69-7500 69-7506 69-7507 69-7508
69-7511 69-7519 69-7529 69-7531 69-7533
The first event was a spotters day on Thursday organized by the Squadron. Sadly they did not receive any backing from the Greek Air Force Headquarters. Resulting in a slow operational flying day. Very few visitors were lured to this event. Some Belgian F-16’s made a stopover for a day. The three last operational Phantoms flew several sorties. But no fly-by’s for the several hundred spotters on base. Some local F-16’s also flew several sorties.
RF-4E 77-1765 standard colors.
RF-4E 66-7450 “60 years 348 TRS” colors
RF-4E 69-7499 “The end of the film” colors
On Friday the official farewell ceremony was held on Larisa AFB. This event was open for the general public and consisted out of a formation flyby of the three last operational Phantoms, a Mirage 2000 and a F-16. Sadly the specially painted Mirage 2000 in this formation crashed a week later. Luckily no injury for the pilot.
After the formation flyby the Phantom with the special paint “The end of the film” was parked between a F-16 and RF-84F. After its engines stopped people were allowed to get closer.
A hour later this event was over.
A big contrast compared to the farewell ceremony for the A-7 held at Araxos AFB. But as mentioned earlier the Squadron did not receive any authorization to organize this event from Greek Air Force Headquarters.
I would like to thank the People of 348 TRS for making these events possible. They did their very best to let us feel welcome.
Text & photography: Ludo Kloek