JG71 Phantom Pharewell


Wittmund air base, Germany

The weekend of June 28/29th 2013 witnessed the end of McDonnell F-4 Phantom II operations at Wittmund when Jagdgeschwader 71 'Richthofen' said farewell to their last operational Phantoms.


To mark the historic occasion an 'Enthusiasts Day' and 'Tag der Offenen Tür' (open day) were held. For the event three Phantoms were painted in colour schemes to represent the different camouflage used during service with the Luftwaffe and a special "First in, Last out" colour scheme was applied to 37+01, the first of Germanys F-4F Phantoms.


Visiting aircraft from other Luftwaffe units and those of the NATO partners provided a rich display for the guests, the future was represented with the Eurofighter which will be based at Wittmund to defend the skies over Northern Germany.


In the town of Wittmund a torchlight ceremony was held as the officers and men of JG71 paraded into the town square with music provided by the air base band, a presentation by the base commander who outlined the continued presence of the unit at Wittmund which provides a valuable source of employment for the area.


The pyrotechnic finale saw a large flaming 'R' hoisted into the night sky, the symbol of JG71 'Richtofen' and a fireworks display over the historic Landkreis (district house)