Aviation Cadet Insignia, Shoulder Patch, and Navigator Wings



a blog by Peter Stekel

FINAL FLIGHT is the story of four aviators lost in Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks on November 18, 1942

FINAL FLIGHT, coming from Wilderness Press in 2010

Read more about FINAL FLIGHT here.

Update on the October 23, 1983 OV-10 Bronco crash on Darwin Glacier

Marge Carpenter, my friend who has helped me with research for Final Flight was working on finding the surviving pilot from the OV-10 crash. I was able to get his name - Maj. Timothy W. Hill - after finally receiving the US Navy accident report. Unfortunately, the report was so heavily redacted that the only information I was able to get was Maj. Hill's name and the name of the pilot who was killed, Maj. Harold L. Reeves.

Marge was able to find a Lt. Col. Tim Hill. He and I had a great conversation but he was, unfortunately, the wrong Tim Hill. Marge dug around some more but was not able to find any other likely candidates. "Well it was a wild shot... Currently there are 287 Timothy W.Hills listed in the US public records index - a needle in a haystack."

If anybody out there can help, please contact me.

Background stories from 1942


The Senator Hotel in Sacramento was a popular place for Mather Field cadets and others for dining and dancing. On a recent trip to the California state capitol I stopped in to take some photos. Unfortunately it was a Sunday and the hotel - now an office building - was shuttered. I rang the bell to be let in but the gatekeeper would have none of it since I was not on "the list." He wouldn't even let me take a photo through the open door. so I had to wait until he had left and shot these interior photos through the glass doors.

Dances were held in the lobby


According to the 1942 accident report, here is the route Lt. Gamber supposedly took November 18, 1942

Here are recent photos of Mather Field, Orland, and Los Banos. The airport at Los Banos did not exist in 1942. If the Beech was in the area, they would have been heading south of Los Banos to Eagle Field.


Mather Field plaque. History HERE.


Los Banos

Eagle Field

Eagle Field has a website HERE with historical info.

Click HERE for other Eagle Field info including photos.

Both Glenn Munn and Melvin Mortenson spent time at Mesa del Rey basic pilot training near King City, California, in the Salinas Valley. Anything historic from that period is gone at the current airfield [King City Municipal Airport], located on the east side of town.
Local historian and former member of the Mesa del Rey staff, Mickey Muzinich, made this model of the airfield. His book about those days, Keep 'em Flying, is available HERE.


Muzinich died in late 2008 at the age of 94. He was still flying.

Munn writes about taking the train from Santa Ana Army Air Forces Base to King City. The train depot is still in existence but has been moved to a county park on the west side of town.


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write to: peter[at]FinalFlightTheBook.com

copyright 2010 Peter Stekel, all rights reserved

FINAL FLIGHT, coming from Wilderness Press in 2010



Final Flight, Mendel, Mendel Glacier, Sierra Nevada, Peter Stekel, Leo Mustonen, Ernest Munn, William Gamber, John Mortenson, Kings Canyon National Park, Beech 18, AT-7, plane crash, mummy, JPAC, Wilderness Press, finalflightthebook, blog, 41-21070, airplane, lenticular cloud, hypoxia, navigation, wilderness