The Midway Phantom
The Vision

In January 2004, the aircraft carrier USS Midway began the process of
being converted into the San Diego Aircraft Carrier Museum (SDACM).
Shortly thereafter, it was learned the plan for painting display aircraft was:

1)  Each aircraft would be painted in "half & half" paint schemes.
This meant each side of the aircraft would be authentically
painted in different Navy squadron colors and markings.

2)  The cost of sponsoring, and thus choosing, the paint scheme for
one aircraft would be $20,000 per side, or $40,000 total.

This method of sponsorship meant it was possible
that ZERO Midway squadron aircraft
would be represented aboard the Midway museum!

In fact, the first F-4 Phantom, with non-Midway paint schemes,
had already been allocated months before,
and with 2 F-4 displays planned for the SDACM,
only 1 remained available.

Ollie Milam & Jack Ensch

A couple of us were well-aware of the unique achievements of both
VF-21 & VF-161 during the Vietnam War,
when the squadrons flew from

We resolved to preserve the history and enormous legacies
of these great squadrons, their aviators, and their ship,
the USS Midway.

We scrambled to secure the 2nd F-4 Phantom sponsorship,
and were successful.

The 2nd Phantom was ours,
provided we raised the required $40,000 in time.

In March 2004, a drive was begun to raise the $40,000 required to sponsor
an F-4 Phantom II painted in the colors and markings of

The Freelancers of Fighter Squadron Twenty-One
The Chargers of Fighter Squadron One Six One

for display aboard
The San Diego Aircraft Carrier Museum

Two months later,
the drive was completed with a grand total of $58,757 raised!
The additional money raised beyond our goal will be used
to enhance the Midway Phantom aircraft display and
for the planned refurbishment of the
Midway F-4 Phantom Ready Room, Ready 6.


The Midway Phantom
celebrates & commemorates:

1) The FIRST and LAST air-to-air victories of the Vietnam War.

2) The BEGINNING and END of the entire period of Air-to-Air Combat of the Vietnam War, 1965-1973.

3)  Every aviator who flew a Combat Air Patrol mission during the Vietnam War, 1965-1973.

4)  Every person who participated in the maintenance and supply effort for the F-4 during the tens of thousands of combat sorties it flew in Vietnam, 1965-1973.

5)  VF-21 & VF-161, two of the greatest F-4 squadrons of the Vietnam War.

In addition:

1)  The complete Navy F-4 air-to-air weapons system is represented by the Midway Phantom's victories: both AIM-7 Sparrow and AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles were utilized.

2) VF-21 & VF-161 were shore-based at NAS Miramar, San Diego and sea-based aboard USS Midway. The Midway Phantom is a superb representative of the USS Midway, Fightertown USA, Naval Aviation, Navy Fighter Aviation, the San Diego community, The San Diego Aircraft Carrier Museum,

and most importantly,

all those who were ever members of a
Navy F-4 squadron


The Midway Phantom
is intended as a source of pride
for all concerned.