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A Phantom revisited

Several years ago, I built a for my good friend Wally, whose dad, Major Tommy Ray Warren, served as a Stormy FAC in . Major Warren lost his life in this aircraft, 66-8820, in January 1970 after being hit by ground fire over Cambodia. The RIO, Lt. Ralph Leblanc, flew the damaged aircraft back to Udorn, Thailand, where he ejected. Major Warren was recovered and was buried with full military honors in San Antonio, in his home state of Texas. His name can be found on the Viet Nam Memorial Wall, Panel 14W, Line 037.

Some time after I presented the model to Wally, he came across a box of family photos, and in it was a ceramic figure of the Phantom Spook that had belonged to his dad. It was natural the model and figure should be displayed with one another, but life, work and a move got in the way. Both ended up in Wally's hangar for several years, until today when I offered to give them a home until he could find space. He agreed, and after some minor repairs and cleanup, Spook and the Phantom are finally together. This was a very emotional build for me then, and just as emotional now.

My original article is here for those who are interested:

Dedicated once again to the memory of Major Tommy Ray Warren, and to all those who gave their all so we could enjoy the freedom found nowhere else in the world.

2 additional images. Click to enlarge.


11 responses

  1. Jaime,
    This one really hit home... It seems that too many people often forget or take for granted the sacrifices that our men and women from the armed services have endured over the years. I've said it before, and I'll say it again. Freedom is not free. If you think so, I ask you to simply go and visit any one of your nearby VA hospitals or treatment centers. Then maybe you will snap back into reality.

    Recently, one of my neighbors who was an Airman working on Phantom ejection seats in Vietnam lost his life. I have another neighbor who served with the 82nd Airborne in Vietnam who is now losing his fight with cancer that was caused by agent orange. I have lost several other good friends who also succumbed to cancer from agent orange. Sad really...

    However I'm happy to see the Phantom Spook is together with the Phantom. You did a mighty fine job, and I commend you. I definitely pressed the "like" button for this one. For more than one reason too.

  2. This is indeed very emotional, Jaime!
    Thanks for sharing this, triggering our feelings.

  3. Good to see them together again, Jaime @jetmex
    I can fully understand the emotional moment.

  4. Excellent ! πŸ‘πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ

  5. very interesting story! I like models that tell story of pilot.

  6. Great model Jaime, and an even better backstory! Stories such as this are the things that really elevate our hobby beyond the struggles with sprue, glue and paint. Thanks for doing this sir. πŸ˜ƒ πŸ‘

  7. Nice Phantom, great tribute. Well done, Jaime.

  8. Great job, Jaime (@jetmex), and great story. The old Monogram kits still build into nice models. Thanks for sharing the stories. I am of that age that Vietnam was "my war", and I lost several high school buddies in the war. When you think of people who fought in wars, then the WW1 soldiers are all gone, the WW2 soldiers are mostly gone, Korean soldiers are getting old, and the people that served in Vietnam are starting to pass on. It's a sad, but inevitable, way to measure the passage of time.

  9. Nice work on the F4 and great tribute to Major Tommy Ray Warren and to all who did not make it back.

  10. A very nice tribute! It's good to see the spook has his blue shoes on.

  11. Great build and post Jaime.

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