This is the complete history of the Republic F-105 Thunderchief, from its inception in the early 1950s to its retirement in the mid-1980s. The F-105 holds the distinction of being the only American combat aircraft withdrawn from service simply because there were not enough of them remaining to be tactically useful. The Thunderchiefs flew 159,795 combat missions in Southeast Asia, resulting in the loss of 334 aircraft, most of them to North Vietnamese anti-aircraft fire. This was almost half the combat-capable F-105s built. One hundred fifty-six crew-members were listed as killed in action or missing in action. Two pilots received the Medal of Honor.
After the Air Force withdrew them from Southeast Asia, leaving the war to the newer and more plentiful McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II, the remaining Thuds settled into a quiet routine stateside until they were finally retired on 25 February 1984.