Did you know ‘wrong’ MiG-29 Kill Markings representing no known country were applied to USAF F-15C Jets after Operation Allied Force?

Did you know ‘wrong’ MiG-29 Kill Markings representing no known country were applied to USAF F-15C Jets after Operation Allied Force?

By Dario Leone
Apr 28 2023
Share this article

At the time, Google wasn’t really a thing, so it was hard to just look up what a Serb flag looked like.

The F-15 Eagle is an all-weather, extremely maneuverable, tactical fighter designed to permit the US Air Force (USAF) to gain and maintain air supremacy over the battlefield.

F-15C, D and E models were deployed to the Persian Gulf in 1991 in support of Operation Desert Storm where they proved their superior combat capability. F-15C fighters accounted for 34 of the 37 Air Force air-to-air victories.

Kill Markings

They have since been deployed for air expeditionary force deployments and operations Southern Watch (no-fly zone in Southern Iraq), Provide Comfort in Turkey, Allied Force in Bosnia, Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and Iraqi Freedom in Iraq.

Taken after the end of Operation Noble Anvil (the name given to the US portion of Operation Allied Force, OAF), the interesting photos in this post show F-15Cs from the 493rd FS/48th FW, based at RAF Lakenheath, England, featuring ‘weird’ kill markings for the MiG Kills scored during the conflict.

Serbian Flag
Serbian Flag

As we have explained in an extensive piece (CLICK HERE to read the article) the 493rd FS claimed four Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Air Force (FRYAF) MiG-29s destroyed during the brief campaign.

F-15C 86-0156
F-15C 86-0156

The three “Grim Reapers” that shot down the Fulcrums were Lt Col Cesar “Rico” Rodriguez (who scored the first kill on Mar. 24, 1999 in F-15C 86-0169), Capt Mike “Dozer” Shower (who scored the second kill on Mar. 24 in F-15C 86-0159) and Capt Jeff “Claw” Hwang (who scored the final two kills on Mar. 26 in F-15C 86-0156, now retired to the National Museum of the US Air Force). ‘Boomer’ McMurry, who was Hwang wingman during the engagement, fired an AIM-120 to one of the of the two MiG-29s Hwang was engaging but it was later determined that McMurry’s AIMRAAM had failed to hit its target. Hwang’s near simultaneous multi-bogey AIM-120 engagement in fact had brought down both Fulcrums.

F-15Cs
F-15C 86-0169

As you can see by looking at the photos in this post, the weird kill markings appeared on both F-15C 86-0169 and F-15C 84-014.

F-15C 0-14
F-15C 84-014

84-014 was Rico’s assigned jet. However, he was flying 86-0169 when he scored the kill as Rico himself confirmed to The Aviation Geek Club: ‘0169 or as I called her the LOVE MACHINE was the jet I flew on night one and scored the first kill of OAF.’ 

But what about the weird kill markings?

Rico F-15
Rico’s assigned jet (Scott Brown)

‘Rico’s assigned jet carried a kill flag… Representing no known country… For a while after the Serbs packed it in,’ Scott Brown, who made the decals of the OAF F-15C MiG Killers and runs Bullseye Model Aviation and Wall Pilot Facebook pages, explained to The Aviation Geek Club. ‘This represents “Boomer” McMurry’s denied kill. Both he and Hwang shot at the same aircraft. McMurry was initially awarded the kill, so 014’s crew chief applied what he thought was a Serb flag. Remember, at the time, Google wasn’t really a thing, so it was hard to just look up what a Serb flag looked like. Eventually, it was determined that Hwang killed both MiGs and McMurry’s Slammer went through the debris and fire where the Fulcrum used to be…’

Rico Kill F-15
Rico’s Kill jet (Scott Brown)

Brown concludes:

Dozer F-15
Dozer’s kill jet (Scott Brown)

‘The crew names were removed after [F-117] Vega 31 was shot down, but on the night of the MiG kills, Rodriguez’s name was on it. The Iraqi flag represents John Doneski’s kill of a Fitter with the 53rd TFS during Desert Storm. Rico chose it as his assigned jet because the tail number was close to his double kill jet from Desert Storm 85-0114.’

Claw F-15
Claw’s kill jet (Scott Brown)

During OAF, NATO faced a Yugoslav air force that included 16 MiG-29 and 80 MiG-21 fighters plus 28 J-22 and 70 G-4M attack airplanes. Serbian air defenses included more than 800 man-portable SA-7, SA14, and SA-16 surface-to-air missiles and 130 other low-altitude anti-aircraft missiles. Other larger and longer range missiles included four SA-2s, 16 SA-3s, and more than 80 SA-6s.

F-15C Print
This print is available in multiple sizes from AircraftProfilePrints.com – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS. F-15C Eagle 144th Fighter Wing, 194th Fighter Squadron, CA/80-004 – California Air National Guard – Fresno ANG Base, CA – 2016

Besides the four MiG-29 kills scored by USAF F-15Cs, another Fulcrum was shot down by Dutch F-16 pilot (who actually scored the third MiG kill of the war) on Mar. 24. NATO had shot down five of the best Yugoslavian fighters in the first three days of the conflict, with no friendly aircraft losses.

Photo credit: Scott Brown, Unknown and U.S. Air Force

F-15 model
This model is available to order from AirModels – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS.

Share this article

Dario Leone

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Share this article


Share this article
Share this article

Always up to date! News and offers delivered directly to you!

Get the best aviation news, stories and features from The Aviation Geek Club in our newsletter, delivered straight to your inbox.

Error: Contact form not found.


Share this article
Back to top
My Agile Privacy
This website uses technical and profiling cookies. Clicking on "Accept" authorises all profiling cookies. Clicking on "Refuse" or the X will refuse all profiling cookies. By clicking on "Customise" you can select which profiling cookies to activate. In addition, this site installs Google Analytics in version 4 (GA4) with anonymous data transmission via proxy. By giving your consent, the data will be sent anonymously, thus protecting your privacy. We and our selected ad partners can store and/or access information on your device, such as cookies, unique identifiers, browsing data. You can always choose the specific purposes related to profiling by accessing the advertising preferences panel, and you can always withdraw your consent at any time by clicking on "Manage consent" at the bottom of the page.

List of some possible advertising permissions:

You can consult: our list of advertising partners, the Cookie Policy and the Privacy Policy.
Warning: some page functionalities could not work due to your privacy choices