ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. --
Don Otting hasn’t seen the F-4 Phantom II for about 50 years. On Oct. 3, the former crew chief was reunited at the Museum of Aviation with the aircraft he was in charge of during the Vietnam War.
“When I rotated back to the states, I had heard it had been shot down,” Otting said.
In fact, it had not.
The plane, serial No. 66-7554, was at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, before coming to the museum in 2007.
Otting was photographed painting the second kill star on the aircraft in 1968 during Vietnam. The photograph is displayed at the museum.
“I think it’s really amazing, the whole experience of being in a foreign country and being responsible for an aircraft that was going to the front line,” he said.
As a crew chief, Otting was responsible for the whole plane. He was in constant communication with the pilot as to what needed to be done on the aircraft.
For him to be reunited with his plane was something he had never thought would happen.
“It was 50 years in the past, and I never thought about it. I was just an 18- to 19-year-old kid who was thrust into that situation,” Otting said.