This study tells the combat stories of the extraordinary RF-101, highlighting the difficulty of the missions on which it was sent and the courage of its pilots.
McDonnell's F-101 Voodoo series was in many ways the most interesting of the "Century Series" fighter programs of the 1950s, partly because the type's design and intended mission changed radically during a 40-year career. Originally designed as a fighter-bomber, it was converted to be a reconnaissance aircraft, serving alongside the U-2 and RF-8 Crusaders during the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Vietnam War. Although it gained a reputation as a difficult aircraft to handle, the jet's supersonic speed and newly-developed camera suite enabled it to conduct vital low-altitude photo-reconnaissance missions over heavily-defended target areas.
In combat, the RF 101 was usually "first in-last out" for strike missions. This made it a ready target, with a solo aircraft flying straight and level to gather target photo evidence at low altitude offering enemy gunners plenty of opportunity to shoot the Voodoo down.