My Story – John Nafziger

Member's Bio

F4 Phantom


Nafziger – F4 Phantom

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John has been a member of PAM since XXXX.

John served in the Air Force from 1974 – 2010 and retired as a Lt. Colonel.  John flew the F-4 Phantom for 17 years and the F-16 for 5 years.


My Story


During John’s training for being rescued at sea, he watched “Jaws”.  While waiting for the helicopter to pick him from the ocean, he thought he was being attacked by a shark.  It turned out that the bag used for his flotation device filled with water and was bumping up against his leg.


John was stationed in Turkey when the Iranians were planning to release American Embassy staff after 444 days of captivity.  Since the Iranians were unpredictable, John’s F-4 unit was prepared to attack Tehran, the capital of Iran, if any prisoners were injured or executed.


When asked what flying an F-4 is like, John reflects that traveling at supersonic speed at an altitude of 80 feet is quite a rush.  That is equivalent of three football fields per second.  

John also reflects that flying is very dangerous.  John had twenty-five friends die in non-combat situations.  


Every pilot and ROI is required to requalify on weapons, both guns and bombs.  The F-4 and the F-16 used a 20 mm cannon with a total of 600 rounds.  The cannon would fire 100 rounds per second, so they had to master the art of short but accurate bursts of fire.  

Why You Need to Respect the F-4 Phantom II Fighter
20mm Vulcan Cannon
Absolutely incredible’: What it’s like to fly in an F-16
Flying in an Air Force F-16 | I PUKED 3 TIMES