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.

10 thoughts on “The Legend of 666.

  1. Took some liberties with the “Gun Pod Incident” story, didn’t we? It happened in Whiskey Arch 39 in 1975.
    They never parked A/C in that Arch again, and Damian was not involved. Oscar

  2. In his book The Celtic Chronicles, he explains why he believes the chalice is the Holy Grail, from which Christ drank at the Last Supper. He says it was brought to England in AD60 by Joseph of Arimathea, and was engraved with the number 666 and other symbols by King Arthur in the fifth century.

  3. James,
    A ,little off topic but that’s okay. I believe the Holy Grail was the Bloodline of Christ. But that’s for a “Completely Different” post. Back on topic (sort of) most people refer to Revelation 13:18 when interpreting “666”.
    New International Version
    “This calls for wisdom. Let the person who has insight calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. That number is 666.”


  4. I worked on a F4E at Seymour Johnson AFB in the 80’s that had a tail number of 666 that pilots would refuse to fly.

  5. 666 was stationed in spangdahlem and came to Aviano between the years 77 and 79 cycling in and out

  6. In January 1968 coming from Naha AB Okinawa to Misawa Japan on a Aircraft conversion move working on C130’s at Naha then changing over to in bound from Vietnam F-4c’s and out bound F100’s. Talk about a brain scramble to learn Aircraft configurations being in Aircraft Environmental Systems it was a challenge. Fine and dandy January looked to be promising cold and snow flourished vary well. We were told to always keep our bags packed TDY’s to Kunsan was a natural thing to support the alert pad. Well those dumb North Koreans decided to take the USS Pueblo in international waters with the crew. So the end of January was a swift movement to Kunsan tool box in one hand and luggage in the other. Glad it was a short stay Aircraft configuration was downgraded the day we landed meaning the F-4’s were moved from the alert pad to the revetment area further down and loaded with conventional armament. And the Yellow Sea air was crisp with white particles on the ground Tents was our living quarters with pot belly stoves for heat. One night some Idiot turned the fuel valve off outside. When you teeth start chattering its cold we never did find the Idiot I think he would of ended up swimming in the Yellow Sea. Well back to Misawa F-4c 666 and 555 was in the hanger being stripped down this wasn’t for a few weeks it was months. Repairing battle damage was long and drawled out. I replaced both Air Conditioning pack heat ex-changers in 555 and one in 666. In May 68 a 8.2 earth quake decided to hit Misawa causing a lot of damage to aircraft and 666 was included doing a bouncy bouncy on the flight line Rock and Roll. Towards the later part of 68 666 made a trip to Kunsan to perform alert status. As I mentioned in the beginning about keeping your bags packed your going TDY spent over half my tour TDY to Kunsan and Taegu left Misawa in July 69 for Bien Hoa Vietnam where some of the F100’s we had at Misawa had ventured too but that’s a different story. A few years back did some research on aircraft I worked on 666 was on loan to Kunsan as a battle damage repair tool 555 is on loan to the Yankee Air Museum Belleville Mi. on static display.

  7. I was also at Kunsan in 1975 when the gun accident happened and did occur at Whiskey Arch 39.

  8. I was researching this story for somebody that I was told in 1979 as a new airman at CAB R.P. about the gun firing, when I came across this page. I have questions, was it a “D” model and what was it’s full tail number? I remember seeing the pictures of the incident and was wondering if anybody had any copies.
    Any documented information would be appreciated.
    As far as 666, I do remember stories about her including one about how one of her crew chiefs killed himself.

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