F-105D Thunderchief - "Heading North"

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The F-105 Thunderchief was designed to carry a single nuclear weapon at high speed and low altitude into Soviet airspace. Entering service in 1958, the F-105 was used extensively in the Vietnam War. As the primary strike aircraft, the Thunderchief flew over 20,000 sorties into some of the most heavily defended airspace in history. Able to carry up to 14,000 lbs of ordinance the Thunderchief could deliver a heavy blow. Unfortunately, rules of engagement and heavy defenses also meant the Thunderchief took heavy losses. Operating from Korat and Takhli air bases in Thailand, F-105 squadrons carried the war north to the Vietcong. This print depicts the takeoff of of one such mission. The airplane in this print was shot down by a MiG 21 on October 9, 1967. Pilot Major James Clements ejected but was captured and spent the rest of the war as a POW.