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What is this 'rook' symbol on an F-4C splitter?

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Does anyone know what the 'rook' symbol on the splitter of this aircraft symbolizes?


This aircraft is in both the Eduard F-4C "Good Evening Da Nang" kit and the Furball Aero Design 48-032 "Gull Gray USAF Phantoms" decal sheet.






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On 3/4/2019 at 2:06 PM, BillS said:

Here’s a wag: a zap from VMA-121, Green Knights.

That might very well be it. 


According to wikipedia, VMA-121 began combat operations from Chu Lai Air Base, South Vietnam in December, 1966. So the time frame is right

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Without more info/detail of the markings this is all guesswork, but it seems unlikely to me that a USMC 'zap' would take pride of place on USAF machine's 'brag board.'


Since the knight (chesspiece or the more conventional variety) is a recurring symbol for a number of units, I did some google-fu and discovered the 31st Rescue Squadron uses the chesspiece as their emblem and was deployed to southeast Asia circa '65-'66. 


I'd speculate that the knight emblem might have been added to denote one or more missions with the Phantoms flying top cover for a recovery flight (there seems to be either text or mission marks top right of the graphic).  This might also explain the F-105* silhouette above the knight, as it would be strange to display a "training kill" against a Thud along with what are presumably "active combat" mission marks.


*The photo seems pretty clearly to show an F-105 but I've seen build photos that make this a red F-100 - not sure if that's Eduard's error, Furball, or both?

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