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F-16C 'Lethal Lady' retires

November 14, 2008 (by Asif Shamim) - Vermont ANG's oldest F-16C #83-1165 'Lethal Lady' flew her final mission Friday afternoon. The 25-year-old fighter jet is a national record holder having clocked more than 7,200 flying hours in both peace time and combat missions.

USAF F-16C block 25 #83-1165 from the 134th FS. This is an updated picture of the first F-16C to fly 7,000 hours.

Originally slated to go to the boneyard in Tucson, 'Lethal Lady' was saved by a local and national effort to preserve her. Officials say the plane will eventually find a permanent home with the Smithsonian in Washington.

For now according to Col. "TJ" Jackman the jet will be a permanent fixture at our base and be displayed in our aircraft museum.

Air Guard officials say her longevity is a testament to the Guard's maintenance team.

"I think it's more pride than sadness. I mean we are happy to get our newer block 30 airplanes-- with 1165 achieving its last flight in Vermont. What that means to us is that we have now achieved that we have all of our newer F-16s on staff -- so it's a step forward, it's a step to the future for the Vermont Air National Guard," said Col. Dave Baczewski, of the Vt. Air National Guard.

The jet logged more than 1,000 of those hours during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Additional images:

The artwork on USAF F-16C block 25 #83-1165, also known as 'Lethal lady'. This is the last block 25 with the 158th FW. [Photo by Philippe Colin]

The Green Mountain Boys maintainers came through once more to fix a brake problem on Lethal Lady the day before its final flight. Without them, pilots would still be on the ground! Colonel Jackman is posing with some of the crew after recovery in Burlington on November 14th. [Photo by Philippe Colin]

Colonel Jackman is ready to fly F-16C block 25 #83-1165 'Lethal Lady' for its last official flight on November 14th, 2008. [Photo by Philippe Colin]