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Date: 6 September 1965
Aircraft type: F-105D Thunderchief
Serial Number: 62-4400
Military Unit: 562 TFS, 23 TFW attached to 6235 TFW
Service: USAF
Home Base: Takhli
Capt Gary D Barnhill (Survived)

The 562nd TFS arrived at Takhli in mid-August to replace its sister squadron from McConnell, the 563rd. The Squadron lost its first aircraft in Southeast Asia during in-flight refuelling from a KC-135 tanker on a Rolling Thunder strike mission. The F-105s had taken off from Takhli and, as was normal, were topping up with fuel over northern Thailand before heading towards the target. During refuelling a wingman saw fuel pouring out of the bomb bay of Capt Barnhill’s aircraft. The Captain quickly disconnected from the tanker and ejected as the F-105 caught fire. The aircraft exploded seconds later and the pilot was picked up by a HH-43. As an F-100 pilot Gary Barnhill had been a member of USAFE’s Skyblazers aerobatic team in 1961. He was awarded the DFC for his part in an attack on a SAM site in October 1965 but in February 1966 he left the Air Force to fly for TWA. He flew with the airline for 21 years until he joined McDonnell Douglas as Manager of their Military Flight Crew Training Division for the C-17 and T-45.

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