The Legend of 666.

Ever worked on or fly and aircraft with 666 as a tail number? Weird shit happens.


Kunsan AB, South Korea, FEB 1981. We had an F-4D 666 and the crew chief named it “Damian IV”. In big red letters across the back of the shelter he had painted in huge red letters, “WELCOME TO THE HOUSE OF DAMIAN”.


A weapons load crew was setting up to do functional checks on a SUU-23 gun pod on the centerline station. The jammer driver shoves a screwdriver in the nose landing gear up lock switch so the airplane will enable firing voltage to the gun. Power is applied. The two man turns power on in the jet. Ground Jettison Enabled so the weapons system will work like the jet’s in flight. Master arm on.
The Weapons Expediter is sitting in his truck right in front of the Hardened Aircraft Shelter. Number two selects up the gun and squeezes the trigger to the second detent as the crew chief realizes the drive motor and firing leads are still connected and he sees the flywheel spinning up…

Blew the expediter truck (and NLG) away. Killed one in the truck but the driver survived.


Oddly enough, I can’t find a reference that this aircraft existed at all. But I know it was there because it took a good shot at killing me. In the winter of 80/81 I was working Aero Repair and 666’s stab was “sticking”. It was impounded for flight control problems. Day shift worked it and couldn’t find anything. Swing Shift…. Nada. Ssgt Larry Welch and I on Mid Shift went out to do a “One Pound Check” on the stab.

Since it was impounded everyone was there. The expediter, AGS Super, Quality Control and Safety. It was a herd of Zebras.


B1 stands for sale on ebay of all things.
B1 stands for sale on ebay of all things.

I was the junior Ssgt so Larry was in the cockpit and cycled the stab to the up position. I removed the hydraulic power and left the mule running. I was on the B-1 stand in the back with the QA guy. We were on headsets so it went like this:
Me: Confirm zero hydraulic pressure.
Larry: Zero on all gauges.
Me: Confirm with flight control movement.
Larry: Cycling stick.
Me: No movement confirmed.

I then disconnected the stab actuator and attached the one pound weight. The stab moved down as advertised, no problem. QA gave me a thumbs up. We then went through the whole hydraulic power thing again. With my wrench safety wired to my sleeve and my head against the fuselage I reconnected the actuator and had just started the nut when I heard I loud hissing noise. This was air being forced through the system by hydraulic power.

I threw myself back like a bat out of Hell knocking the QA down the stand. The stab cycles itself back to neutral. Larry is now standing backwards in the front cockpit screaming if I’m alright. My headset was turned sideways and I’m screaming in the ear piece that I’m alright.

Then it got quiet as the mule was shut off. I threw down my headset and said, “Who did that?” The expediter raised his hand. It was loud and one of the Msgts told the expediter to turn off the mule. The first step is to kill the fluid flow. But since I had already done that, when he turned the valves all 2000 psi came rushing back. The hissing sound I had heard.

I calmly walked down the stairs. Walked over the expeditor and slammed him by the collar into the side of the shelter. “YOU STUPID, STUPID MOTHERFUCKER. YOU ALMOST GOT ME KILLED!!!!” A total of 20 stripes were present and nobody said a word. I went to our truck and sat there calming down while Larry policed up our shit.

Driving back to the shop Larry said that he’d learned something today.
“Never to fuck with Walt.”


Do you have a “666” story? Put it in the comments.

A Christmas Story

Putin continues to put Bears in the air. Harkening back to the good ol’ days when we were armed to the teeth waiting for the U.S.S.R. to attack us. As the Christmas Season is upon us it reminds me of a TDY back in 1979.

I was stationed at George AFB and was crewing F-4C’s. We were tasked to go to Duluth Minnesota and relieve the Guard so that they could spend the holidays with the kiddies.

As it happened we got a real world scramble and sent two Phantoms aloft. After an hour or so they came back and as I parked the jet I noticed an AIM-9 Sidewinder missing and alot of black soot on the empty rail.

The pilot came off the ladder. Turned and gave me a thumbs up and said:

“Smoked that fucker”.

He and his GIB got immediately into a staff car and were never seen again.

Makes you want to say.