Roger Wyckoff shares photos and memories

Roger flew as a Radio Operator on Fairchild C-119Cs (R4Q-1) Flying Boxcars in the Marines.
Mark Tercsak (Roger Wyckoff is his uncle) scanned these photos for Roger and sent them to Chuck Lunsford (also a former C-119 Radio Operator), who forwarded them to me.
Published with permission.


Roger Wyckoff

"If you look at the pilot in the left seat, his cap shows his name, Bill Horst. He was a Lt. Col. and the Squadron CO at the time."

Two Marine R4Qs from VMR-253 over Okinawa heading for the drop zone to make a practice paradrop of supplies in 1958

R4-Q over the Okw.


Marine Air Delivery Team making the drop.
Just practise

Crew chief conferring with pilots.
Crew Chief rides in jump seat.
"The first photo on this page and this one were taken on a different flight than the Okinawa paradrop flight. The crew chief on the left asked me to take a photo of him to send to his kid. He thought it would give him a kick to see his father in his work clothes. After I took the photo, he said, "Why don't I take one of you?"
I cannot remember the crew chief's name. He was a red headed Tech. Sgt.
This was one of the problems of not being assigned to a specific plane. You never knew who you would be flying with. Only the crew chiefs were assigned to a specific plane."

Roger wrote me in Aug. 2006-
"Something that may be of interest to you is that I took the photos of the flying R4Qs and the Air Delivery Marines a couple of days after the Double Runaway Prop incident over Kanoya listed on your Questions and Answers page. The plane that I was on was a replacement sent to Kanoya from Iwakuni, to replace R4Q-1 128733 for the paradrops on Okinawa."

"I think former Marine R4Q crew members, and other transport squadron personnel, would be esspecially interested in learning that Marine R4Qs were used in making the two "Flight of the Phoenix" movies.
In the 1965 version, which Jimmy Stewart starred in, an old VMR-253 R4Q-1, BuNo 126580 was used to make a non-flying Phoenix prop. I actually made one flight in 126580 !
In the 2004 version, three Marine R4Q-2s were used.
I'm sure you're familiar with Simon Beck's website, On his website, he has a link: Special Feature - Flight of the Phoenix. He recently added a copy of my logbook page showing the flight on 126580."

Roger wrote on the arrival of N9701F at Hagerstown:
"I learned about this C-82A Packet been auctioned off with the Hagerstown Aviation Museum in Hagerstown, Maryland, U.S.A. putting in the winning bid for it; they were trying to get donations for fuel to get the okay to ferry it and through this I learned about it, only a few days before its arrival here.
On Saturday, for some strange reason, I decided to go on the Internet and check the museum's website at 11:00 PM. What a surprise to find out that they were flying it to Hagerstown the next day!
Being afraid to trust my old 35mm camera, I went out and purchased a two pack of one-use cameras. I ended up with one defective camera and got cheated out of nine photos.
The C-82 was due to arrive approximately at 1:00 PM Sunday so I jumped in my car and drove over 200 miles to Hagerstown on Sunday morning (15Oct06), arriving there with time to spare.
You probably recognized the C-82. You have a few photos of it already.
I am so glad that I went to Hagerstown and got to see a C-82 for the first time and really enjoyed spending the day there. They are really a great bunch of people running the show. They are now trying to obtain one of the few flying C-119s left."

N9701F on Fly past
Crows see N9701F taxi in
"It got there about 2:00 PM, with a two plane escort, Texans, I believe. N9701F made three low passes prior to landing.
There was not a big crowd there. I don't believe it was advertised too much in the media."
Cockpit of this C-82A
The crew i sbeing welcomed with speeches
On the left we see the cockpit of this C-82A Packet, while on the right the crew is being welcomed with speeches: well done guys!
The Fairchild C-82A hoe in Hagerstown
N9701F from all sides
"This C-82A is the one that TWA used to ferry engines.
I'm trying to get the museum's Director, Kurtis Meyers, to send me some copies of two issues of their magazine, The New Pegasus, that I have. If he does, you'll get a copy. They have a lot of good photos and info. One has a page on N9701F in both Air Force and TWA paint schemes.
The museum's website is "
Impressive plane!
Fairchild C-82A N9701F (c/n 10184)
One satisfied reporter!
One satisfied reporter: Roger Wyckoff !

"Anyone willing to drive to Hagerstown, will be able to see the C-82. Kurtis assured me that they will allow anyone access to see it. They are not going to keep it hidden away. I would advise calling first, to ensure someone being available."

Thanks Roger!

N9701F on

Ken Swartz came across N9701F at the Hagerstown Aviaton Museum in Oct.2018, see the
Kenneth I. Swartz gallery on my website

"I ran across something that might interest you all, if you haven't already heard about it.
It occurred during the war between China and India. An Indian Air Force C-119, equipped with a Jet Pack, carrying troops and supplies, landed at Daulat Beg Oldi on an improvised landing strip. You can read the pilot's account of this at
The strip was constructed by the Bengal Sappers (who also constructed the highest motorable road in the world). Their website gives the altitude as 7,490 feet, which is obviously wrong. It's probably 17,490 feet. I attempted to verify the altitude with the webmaster but did not receive a reply before my computer crashed: webmaster at
Another tidbit: according to Wikipedia, Qambo Bamba Airport in Tibet, China is the highest airport in the world at 14,219 feet elevation. It also has the longest runway at 18,045 feet long..."

I wanted to tell you about this incident; I only heard about it second hand.

What Would You Have Done?

Prior to my being transferred to VMR-253 at Iwakuni, Japan, I had flown in VMR-352 at El Toro at Santa Ana, CA. for probably a little over two years. At that time, 352 was equipped with only R5Ds. When I arrived at Iwakuni, 253 was equipped with only R4Q-1s. I had less than a year left on my enlistment. During my time with 253, the Marines began transferring aircraft so that both squadrons were equipped with both R4Qs and R5Ds.
Upon arriving at Iwakuni, I was told by another Marine that 253 had experienced problems with losing the 4360 engines on the R4Qs. It was apparently bad enough that the Maintenance Dept. took a 4360 engine that had just been overhauled at Itami, immediately took it apart and found metal filings inside.
He further told me about the following incident. An R4Q was returning to Iwakuni and experienced landing gear problems. Only the nose gear could be lowered. The two main landing gears would not lower. When the problem could not be resolved, the crew was given the following options-
1. Attempt the landing
2. Bail out over land, after heading the plane toward the ocean and putting it on auto pilot. Fighters, armed with Sidewinder Missiles, would then shoot the plane down.

The crew elected to land on the nose gear. So little damage was done that the plane was flown two days later to Itami for repairs.
I don't know about you, but I might have joined the Caterpillar Club by jumping..."

"Another story I heard regarding an R4Q.
One of the R4Q-1s from VMR-253 was trying to beat a typhoon as it taxied out for takeoff from Kadena AFB, Okinawa. As they were preparing for takoff, the typhoon struck...
The pilots had to keep the nose of the plane into the wind and run the engines for a couple of hours. There was so much debris flying around that the other crew members had to get out and grab things like metal aircraft work stations to prevent them from striking the aircraft!
They were able to prevent damage to the plane and received commendations for their actions."

"My last flight as a crew member in VMR-253 and also my last flight as a crew member in the Marine Corps occurred on April 10, 1959.
It was also the saddest flight...
Aircrews attended a briefing concerning a search we would be participating in. A P5M-2 patrol plane from VP-50 was missing since the previous day. We were told that communication was lost while they were in the middle of a radio transmission.
We were issued binoculars and also carried several men from VP-50. At this time, VMR-253 had both R4Q-1s and R5Ds. I was assigned to an R5D. While searching our assigned area, we located the wreckage of the missing aircraft. It was located high up on Mt. Halla-san, located on Cheju-Do Island off the southern part of South Korea.
All ten crew members were lost."

"Thought I'd share a C-130 story.
A few years ago, while watching the television show JAG, the hero Harm, after doing a CIA mission against a drug lord, made an emergency landing aboard a U. S. aircraft carrier. I started laughing and thought, "Yeah, no way can you land a C-130 on a carrier." Boy was I wrong...
A couple of years later, there was an article on the Internet about a ceremony the Navy had in Ohio to present a citation to a sailor who had participated in just such a feat. He had been transferred prior to the award ceremony for the other participants. They had even found that the C-130 used in the landings/takeoffs was still flying and were able use it to fly to the Ohio ceremony.
I was really surprised to learn that the KC-130F was borrowed from my old squadron, VMR-352, which had become VMGR-352, due to having refueling capabilities. The Navy then used the C-130, BuNo 149798 to do a feasibility study to determine if it could be used to supply aircraft carriers at sea.
To read the story, try this link:
There are many sites about the landings and takeoffs. The C-130 far exceeded what they expected of it. The Navy, however, decided that the risks were too high.
Some sites even have short videos you can download, showing a landing and a takeoff.
Can you just imagine coming in for a landing on a carrier with a C-130?

Bailey Bridge paradrop in Korea

"I think this is about the greatest story I've ever heard about C-119s. It occurred during the Korean War when the First Marine Division and the US Army 7th. Infantry found themselves facing a far superior force, after the Chinese came into the conflict.
Breaking out of the area of the frozen Chosen Reservoir, they began the epic fight to the sea, along a narrow mountain road. They were resupplied by paradrops along the way. The Marines brought all their equipment. Their orders were:"Only the dead and wounded ride." Everyone else walked...
The Chinese were able to blow a section out of a bridge stopping their progress. The Marines radioed a request for a paradrop of a Bailey Treadway Bridge, an item that had never been airdropped before!
Air Delivery Personnel at Ashiya decided the bridge could be dropped in eight 4,000 pound sections, using two parachutes on each section. One section was test dropped at Yonpo and when it was successful, the eight sections were loaded on C-119s. The next day eight C-119s dropped the bridge sections which allowed the Marines and Army troops to continue.
The above was all done in bitter cold weather!
The only footage of this airdrop that I've seen is on a PBS Special titled "Beyond the Medal of Honor" about four Medal of Honor recipients from the small town of Pueblo,Colorado. The airdrop section is only a few seconds long but clearly shows two of the C-119s dropping their sections."

A Bit of Radio-Operator Humor..

"When I was in VMR-352 at El Toro, there was a Tech/Sgt Dodd, who was known to be a pretty fair at using Morse Code. One day the following incident happened.
As Dodd's R5D approached Guam, he attempted to contact a CW (code) station. After Dodd sent his first transmission, he got the following reply in plain text:"Send faster". This was sent at a speed of about 5 words per minute, very very slow...
Dodd sped up his sending, and got the same reply. A few more tries were made, each one a little faster, each answered with the same 5 WPM reply.
Dodd, in frustration, happened to have his speed key with him. He broke out the speed key and tried again. Even then, he got the same response! No matter how fast he sent, he got "Send faster"
So finally Dodd sent: "Just how fast would you like me to send?"
Back came the response, at Five Words Per Minute, "Anywhere up to 200 words a minute. We have an automatic machine here."

And here is another one:
When the first Marine R4Q was approaching the airfield at Camp Pendleton, the tower operator asked the pilots a common question: "Request type of aircraft".
One of the pilots promptly replied: "R4Q".
"Well, !#@&* you too, if that's the way you feel about it!" replied the indignant tower operator...

This is a request for photos of the three R4Q-2s that were used in the making of the 2004 version of the 'Flight of the Phoenix'- movie.
R4Q-2 BuNo 131691 Serial #10876
R4Q-2 BuNo 131700 Serial #10885 Civilian Reg. N3267U
R4Q-2 BuNo 131706 Serial #10891 --> two on C-119 Dossier page #2
If any Marine Aircrewmen, or anyone, has a photo of any of the above three R4Q-2s, and wouldn't mind sharing them, Simon Beck is trying to locate photos to use on his Special Feature 'Flight of the Phoenix'.
If you can help, go to and contact Simon Beck.
Roger Wyckoff

In 2003, I heard about some Tri-Motors that were flying in to a local airport that day. Went out but they didn't show. Went out the next day and they showed up, with a bunch of other vintage planes. I took some nice color photos and put them away.
I ran across them the other day, went on the computer to try to identify what aircraft were on the photos. I thought of you after checking the very first one. It had a connection with Alaska, as did some of the others. It was a Fokker Super Universal CF-AAM with Northern Airways, Carcross, Yukon, Royal Mail on it. There is a lot on info on the Internet about Northern Airways.
Another beauty is a 1966 Bushmaster Tri-Motor, one of only two built. It was built to look like the Ford Tri-Motor. In the 1960s and 1970s, it was based in Alaska and flew supplies to remote Indian villages in Siberia, including Musk Oxen. I was able to make out a logo on the side that read National Air Tour. The National Air Tour web site was very helpful in identifying the photos.
I found out that all the aircraft were touring as part of the National Air Tour, which accounts for the two digit numbers on the planes.

Fokker Super Universal CF-AAM at Pittsburgh during National Air Tour 2003

Bushmaster N7501V at Pittsburgh,PA 2003.

1931 Stinson Tri-motor, NC-11153, American Airlines oldest surviving airliner in Pittsburgh, PA during the 2003 National Air Tour.
The planes participating in the National Air Tour

Roger came up with this interesting Jan 1955 Leatherneck Magazine Fairchild Ad:

When I was There -by Wild Bill

I read about this "John the Animal" a couple of years ago. This has to be the same Marine R4Q crew chief as the one in the story I read.
The event occurred in 1958 at Beruit, Lebanon. The R4Q in question was carrying a 4360 engine as cargo. It was supposed to be scrapped, or something. I have no idea why they would bother to send it back. They were flying with the clam shells removed. Obviously others in the crew were also involved.
Near the airstrip, there was a gun position in a field that fired at the American planes as they landed or took off. The restraints that held the 4360 down were removed as the R4Q approached said gun position. At the proper time, the pilot pulled the nose up and the 4360 slid on the rollers and out of the plane. It then tumbled towards the gun crew. I would have loved to seen that.
I hope this gives you a laugh.

Reed Dearing responded in June 2008:
"Roger, great photos!
I was in VMR-353 at MCAS Miami in the late 1950s. I don't remember the plane numbers, but we had some of the 690s and some 700s.
Your air-to-air pics are great!
You speak of R4Q-1; as I recall, we had R4Q-2s with Curtiss-Wright 3350 turbos. I was an AE, so what do I know.. We installed those APS-42 radar units in the nose - and the first anti-collision lights!
I got out in 1957; I understand VMR-353 went to Port Lyautey and I don't know after that... MCAS Miami closed."
Reed Dearing ( Macclenny, Florida)

C-119 Flying Boxcar "gateway"-page

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