During the early years of the Vietnam War, American F-4 crews were becoming increasingly frustrated by their inability to shoot down North Vietnamese MiGs in dogfights because their Phantoms did not have an internal gun. This changed in the spring of 1967 when the 366th Tactical Fighter Wing, then deployed to Da Nang AB, South Vietnam, began mounting external SUU-16 20mm gun pods on its F-4s for air-to-air combat. According to wing historical files, on 14 May the wing scored its first two “gun kills” against a pair of North Vietnamese MiG-17s, followed by a MiG-21 and another MiG-17 on 22 May and 5 June, respectively. With four gun kills in three weeks, the 366th quickly became known throughout Southeast Asia as “the Gunfighters.” (For a detailed version of this story see How the Gunfighters Got Their Name on the Best Little Stories page. )
To further distinguish itself from other F-4 units, Col. Frederick C. “Boots” Blesse, the 366 th Deputy Commander for Operations, and some of his crews designed an unofficial emblem to enhance the wings new Gunfighter persona. The design they came up with depicted the official F-4 mascot, “spook,” holding an SUU-16 pod under his arm with guns blazing. At the time, the top of the patch read “366 TFW – Da Nang.”
Brigadier General Robin E. Scott brought back the patch for flight crews to wear as a “Friday” morale patch in 1999. Since then, it has caught on in popularity and is seen on all sorts of written medium and advertisement.
Text source: T he 366 Wing History Office