The F-105 earned the nickname Thud after the character Chief Thunderthud on the Howdy Doody TV show. The main mission of the F-105G was the detection and destruction of North Vietnamese SAMs that would then allow other aircraft to safely carry out their assignments. In order for the F-105Gs to do this they were always “First In Last Out” and piloted by volunteers. The F-105 was the only U.S. aircraft withdrawn from combat due to high losses. Having flown 20,000 sorties over Vietnam 382 of the 833 F-105s produced were lost.
Republic Aviation built 833 F-105 Thunderchiefs of which 143 were “F”s and the USAF converted 65 of them into F-105G Wild Weasel III. The F-105G was the first aircraft dedicated to Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses (SEAD) missions. The 561st TFS was equipped with 12 F-105Gs and lost 4 to enemy fire and 1 to an accident. The surviving F-105Gs S/N 63-8320 that was converted to a G is credited with shooting down 3 MiGs and is on display at the National Museum of the USAF at Wright Patterson AFB.