JACK McKILLOP COLLECTION
No. 6086. Curtiss AT-32E R4C-1 Condor II (9585 c/n 58) US Marine Corps
Photograph from USN

Curtiss AT-32E R4C-1 Condor II

01/22/2007. Remarks by Jack McKillop: "This aircraft, one of two R4C-1s (BuNo. 9584, 9585) purchased for the Marines, was initially assigned to Marine Utility Squadron Six (VJ-6M), Aircraft One, Fleet Marine Force, based at Quantico, Virginia, USA, in June 1934 and transferred to VJ-7M, Aircraft Two, Fleet Marine Force, based at San Diego, California, in November 1935.

After service with the Marines, the two R4C-1s were assigned to the US Antarctic Service and used in Antarctica in 1941. In February 1941, the US Navy auxiliary ship USS Bear (AG-29) and Interior Department motorship MS North Star rendezvous off Adelaide Island to begin evacuation of East Base. Heavy pack-ice south of this area, however, prevents the ships from reaching the base and the two vessels retire north to Dallman Bay.

USS Bear, meanwhile, gets underway soon thereafter to attempt to find a way through the pack ice to reach East Base but she is unsuccessful. Amidst growing concern over whether or not a full or partial evacuation can take place since mid-March, and the shortening of the polar days, is approaching, MS North Star, running short of supplies and fuel, is sent to Punta Arenas, Chile, to replenish and return if required.

Emergency evacuation of East Base with two R4C flights (Aviation Chief Machinist's Mate Ashley C. Snow and Radioman First Class Earl B. Perce, naval aviation pilots) bring out the entire complement of 24 people to Mikkelson Island, the emergency landing field 25 mls (40 km) northeast of Adelaide Island, whence they are taken on board USS Bear, which soon sails for Punta Arenas, Chile, to rendezvous with MS North Star.

This aircraft was abandoned on March 22, 1941, and assumed blown out to sea."

Created January 22, 2007