Hobby Master HA1002 USAF Lockheed F-104C Starfighter Interceptor - "Pussy Cat", 435th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Lt. Joe Nevers, Squadron Commander, Udon AFB, Thailand, 1965 (1:72 Scale)
"Television brought the brutality of war into the comfort of the living room. Vietnam was lost in the living rooms of America - not on the battlefields of Vietnam."
- Marshal McLuhan
The Lockheed F-104 Starfighter was a single-engined, high-performance, supersonic interceptor aircraft that served with the United States Air Force (USAF) from 1958 until 1967. It continued in service with the Air National Guard until it was phased out in 1975. Subsequently, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) continued to fly a small fleet. NASA F-104 aircraft flew in support of the X-15 and XB-70 projects. The F-104 continued to support the spaceflight programs until they were retired in 1995 and replaced by F/A-18 Hornets. The Starfighter was the first aircraft to hold simultaneous official world records for speed, altitude, and time-to-climb.
The F-104G version sold well amongst NATO air forces where these high-speed fighter-bomber variants continued in service with most operators until the late 1980s; the Italian Air Force examples being the last to be retired in 2004. Many air forces using F-104s eventually replaced them with the F-16 or Panavia Tornado.
Pictured here is a 1:72 scale replica of a USAF Lockheed F-104C Starfighter Interceptor assigned to the 435th TFS, based at Udon AFB, Thailand, and nicknamed "Pussy Cat." "Pussy Cat" was piloted by Lt. Joe Nevers, Squadron Commander of the 435th TFS. Sold Out!
Wingspan: 4 inches
Length: 9 inches
Release Date: January 2007
Historical Account: "Royals" - In October 1964, the first USAF unit assigned at Udon Royal Thai Air Force in Thailand was the 333rd Air Base Squadron. Prior to the formation of the squadron, support personnel were provided by temporary duty personnel from the 35th Tactical Group at Don Muang Royal Thai Air Force Base.
On July 18th, 1965, the 333rd Air Base Squadron was redesignated the 6232nd Combat Support Group (CSG). This unit reported directly to the Commander, 13th Air Force and to the 6234th Tactical Fighter Wing (TFW) at Korat Royal Thai Air Force Base, at that time the only tactical wing in Thailand.
The formation of the group at Udon RTAFB was brought about because of expanding Air Force programs, an increase in assigned personnel, and increased base support requirements. The majority of personnel at Udon RTAFB, prior, to the formation of the group, were temporary duty assignments. Shortly before the group was activated a gradual input of permanent party personnel was made to replace those on temporary duty.
On November 15th, 1965, F-104 Starfighters of the 6232nd CSG were given the responsibility of reporting directly to the Deputy Commander 2nd Air Division/13th Air Force rather than directly to the Commander, 13th Air Force. The 6232nd CSG was redesignated the 630th Combat Support Group on April 8th, 1966, with a reporting responsibility to the Deputy Commander, 7th Air Force/13th Air Force (7/13AF), headquartered at Udon RTAFB.