Polo VF-31 Felix

€74.17
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Manufacturing: Assembly and embroidery made in France, dyed knitwear made in Europe.

50% Viscose 50% Polyamide knitted fabric - navy, embroidered logos.

At the beginning of 1972, the USS Saratoga (CV-59) had sailed from its port of Mayport, Florida, to the South China Sea in less than 48 hours. This was unusual for East Coast aircraft carriers, which are not usually deployed in the Pacific. The Saratoga had just completed a major refit for its next deployment to the Mediterranean, and was the only one available in the entire fleet. Thousands of miles away, the fighting in Vietnam was intensifying. 

Immediately after arriving at Yankee Station, the Saratoga joined the USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63), and naval air operations accelerated rapidly until June 21.

Leading a patrol of two F4 Phantoms, Commander Sam C. Flynn led a combat air mission (MiG CAP) to protect the A-6 Intruders and A-7 Corsair II attack aircraft, which were to strike targets between Haiphong and Hanoi.

The F4 of Cdr. Flynn's F4 had just finished refueling when the USS Long Beach (CGN-9), a control vessel, reported MiGs in flight.

Immediately after crossing the coast 5 minutes ahead of the swipe, the two F-4s were engaged by a battery of surface-to-air missiles (SAMs). Having barely escaped the SAM, Long Beach instructed the F4 Phantom to converge northwards towards the inbound 4-MiG patrol, less than 20 miles away.

Equipped with air-to-air radar far superior to that of the Mig, the F4s could easily have destroyed the MIGs at this distance. However, after maneuvering against the SAMs, the F4s were now operating at 7,000 ft, well below the MIGs, which arrived at over 15,000 ft undetected by the American radars, which were looking for them much lower down. It was like something out of the old days", noted Cdr. Sam C. Flynn in his report.

Disadvantaged during the 1st head-on pass, the F4 Phantom nonetheless managed to slip through the middle of the Mig patrol, targeting number 2. Within seconds, the situation became incredibly complex, with the two F4 Phantoms literally embedded in the Migs, which had become both hunter and game!

 To make matters worse, one of the American Sparrow missiles got stuck in the path of a shot from No.2 as it tried to free its leader. Finally, taking advantage of a violent nose-down manoeuvre to avoid a 3rd Atoll missile shot from the ½ Mig patrol within their 6 o'clock position, one of the Migs yo-yoed into the F4 Phantom's firing envelope and fired two Sidewinders at it. The MIG went into a flat spin and the pilot ejected at around 1,000 ft. 

The episode lasted about 1m30s.

The crew of F4Phantom serial 157307 had just made VF31 history as the only Navy fighter squadron to win aerial victories in three wars - World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.

Here we offer you a magnificent polo shirt in soft, comfortable 70s knit, part of our Felix the Cat collection, with a nod to our VF3 jacket ;)

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