Home / 318th FIS [379]

The 318th vs. 498th Compass Rose “Northstar” Tail Flash Saga [by Ernie White (Updated by Pat McGee)] There has been a lot of talk over the years about the 318th FIS Compass Rose aka Northstar tail flash and whether it was ever also on 498th jets after moving to McChord. Initially many believed that during the time the 498th was co-located with the 318th FIS at McChord they had no tail flash. As such, any F-106 found with either an early version or later version of the 318th style tail flash, was in fact a 318th jet. This does not seem to be the case. During the transition from Geiger Field to McChord AFB, the 498th swapped out their "1957" model F-106 jets with the 456th FIS, gaining a majority of "1959" models. This was accomplished to ensure the 325th FW, the host wing at McChord AFB, had a more common fleet to assist in maintenance, training, and etc. After things "settled" down following the move, the fleet was, once again, (slightly) reshuffled with the 318th and 498th, swapping tails [aircraft] between the squadrons with a majority of the ex 456 FIS fleet being assigned to the 498 FIS. With this transition, some of the jets with the 318th Compass Rose tail flash ended up serving with the 498th, and some of the "new" Sixes served with the 318th. I would consider the tail flash one that was approved for both F-106 units as a Wing tail flash, although haven't seen the design used for the 325th’s T-33's. During this time, the 325 FW ‘shield’ was applied to the left side of the aircraft (replacing the 318ths Green Dragon emblem on their jets). I would consider this another indication that the Compass Rose was truly a Wing tail flash during this era. From what I understand, no squadron insignias were applied to any McChord jets, except for the Sixes from the 318th that participated in William Tell. They were the only F-106's that wore squadron emblems during that period.