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FLZ Pharewell
 
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FLZ Pharewell, the end of an era

Words and Photographs Michael van der Mee

Thursday December 15 2005, the Flug Lehr Zentrum F-4F was formally disbanded. After being formed in 1961 as Jagdbomber Geschwader 36 and later when the F-4's lost their Air-to-Ground role becoming Jagd Geschwader 72. The unit ended as the training unit for German F-4 pilots that arrived back from their initial training in the U.S. with the Ausbildungstaffel F-4F based at Holloman in New Mexico.

With the F-4 being gradually phased out and being replaced by the Eurofighter Typhoon the Ausbildungsstaffel F-4F was already disbanded last year as the need for newly trained pilots became obsolete. So the fate of the FLZ was set and 2005 would become the final operational year with the last live firing deployment made to Deci in September things started to wind down rapidly. Together with the disbanding FLZ, it's home base, Hopsten AB will also close down and no longer be an operational air base.

For the official disbandment ceremony that was being held on December 15 the FLZ had painted a Phantom in an all black colorscheme with the famous unit badge painted broken on it's belly and the horse alongside the air intake ending on the F-4's tail.

The ceremony was attended by Tornado's from JBG31, JBG 33, AG 51 and Phantoms from JG 71. The only foreign visitors where 2 F-16's from 2W and 10W of the Belgian Air Component. A tribute was made by the neighboring MHTR15 that made a three ship fly past to salute the FLZ. With the special paint F-4F taking off as lead for the formation fly past the moment hundreds of people waited for started late on the day, with not much light left as it was already sunset. After the fly-past the unit's birds returned with the 37+11 making the last touchdown at 16:18 and FLZ was ready to enter history.

Pharewell FLZ, solong Hopsten!

 
F-4F Phantom II - 37+11 - Flug Lehr Zentrum F-4F (disbanded) - German Air Force
 
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