The LTV F-8 Crusader had been largely retired from U.S. Navy service, and completely retired from USMC service, at the outbreak of the Third World War. However, RF-8G Photo-reconnaissance versions were still in U.S. Navy Reserve service with Squadrons VFP-206 and VFP-306 when hostilities began, and stored fighter versions were brought out of desert storage and issued to newly established U.S. Navy squadrons for both carrier deployments and for service from land bases. In addition, French Navy F-8E(FN) Crusaders saw service enforcing French neutrality rights at sea, and saw limited combat when NATO reformed in 1988-89 against Soviet forces. The Philippine Air Force's Crusaders had been largely in storage when the war began, and after the Marcos regime secured the continued presence of the USAF's 3rd TFW at Clark AB to defend against Soviet attacks staged via Cam Ranh Bay, the PAF's Crusaders were returned to the U.S. This work will only mention those Crusader variants that saw active service during the war.
F-8H: Rebuilt F-8D version with strengthened airframe and landing gear. In storage at war's outbreak, some returned to service for training with USN Squadron VF-121 det C (for Crusader), most used for parts, including returned Philippine AF aircraft.
F-8J: Improved E version with “wet” wings and BLC (Boundary Layer Control) similar to F-8E(FN), J-57P-20A engine, and improved radar. Carrier service off of U.S.S. Oriskany (CV-34) (VF-191 and -194) and U.S.S. Bon Homme Richard (CV-31) (VF-53 and -162). VF-191 and -194 became F-14D squadrons postwar, while VF-53 and 162 transitioned to the F/A-18.
F-8K: Upgraded F-8C with J-57P-20A and Bullpup AGM capability. Land-based service with USN only.
F-8L: Upgraded B with underwing hardpoints. Used for training only.
F-8E(FN): French Navy version for operations from carriers Foch and Clemenceau. Replaced 1999 by Rafale M.
RF-8G: Upgraded RF-8A photo-reconnaissance aircraft. Used by VFP-206 and VFP-306 from both carriers and land bases. A VFP-306 aircraft had the distinction of being the last USN aircraft shot down over the Brownsville Pocket in 1989. Replaced by RF-18A in USN service postwar.