A fuel pod from an F-4 Phantom II jet fighter was recovered as scheduled Tuesday morning from the Port of Anchorage by Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson crews, according to base officials.
JBER spokesperson John Pennell says the recovery of the 20-foot-long tank, recently discovered by port workers about 75 feet from the facility, began at about 1 a.m. Tuesday.
Crews laid down plywood boards as work platforms atop mud near the cracked tank as they prepared for a low tide. They then used a saw to cut it in half and high-pressure water hoses to clear it of mud and silt inside, which could have resulted in a tenfold increase of the tank’s own 250-pound weight.
The Phantom II, a twin-engine supersonic fighter, flew with the Air Force, Marines and Navy over Vietnam and during much of the Cold War. The Air Force’s 43d Tactical Fighter Squadron, an element of the 21st Composite Wing, flew F-4s at JBER from 1970 to 1980.
Pennell says no identifying markings were immediately found on the tank, since recovery crews were primarily tasked with transporting it to JBER on a flatbed truck before getting cleaned up and getting some rest.
“They’re understandably pretty wiped out,” he said.
According to Pennell, a 673d Air Base Wing historian is pursuing several possible scenarios for how the tank could have ended up near the port.
Contact Chris Klint