The F-4J was the last version produced for the USN and USMC. The “J” version was basically an upgraded “B” version with new radar and avionics as well as a better the “J” version is what isn’t there; the infrared seeker under the nose was deleted. Also missing was an internal gun but Sparrow and Sidewinder missiles were used for intercepting. Between 1966 and 1972 there were 522 F-4Js built. The F-4J had the distinction of scoring the only USMC air-to-air combat victory in Vietnam and it also was the last US operational aircraft in South East Asia. In mid 1970 the F-4 Phantom II was being replaced by the new and improved F-14 Tomcat.
In late 1967 VMF-232 “Red Devils” completed a tour of Vietnam. At home they received the new F-4 Phantom II and began painting their “Red Devil” insignia on the aircraft. On March 1, 1965 the “Red Devils” became VMF(AW)-232 and were sent to Iwakuni, Japan arriving on September 2, 1966. In 1973 the squadron was the last Marine squadron to leave Vietnam returning to Iwakuni. In late 1977 the “Red Devils” were posted to MCAS Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii. Later F-4J 153833 was upgraded to an F-4S, converted to a drone and shot down in 2004.
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