Mt. Tobin, NV Marine Corps Plane Crashes, Jan 1968


Battle Mountain, Nev. (UPI) -- A four-engine Marine Corps plane with 15 to 19 persons aboard was lost in a storm over the Nevada wilderness Wednesday night.
Air Force officials said the C54 craft apparently crashed after the pilot reported he was "dropping fast" with heavy icing on the wings.
Two search planes were turned back by darkness, but a ground party continued to search in the area where the plane lost radio contact, about 32 miles west of this northern Nevada community.
The Air Force at Hamilton Air Force Base, Calif., which was co-ordinating the search, said the plane was en route from Quantico (Va.) Marine Base to Seattle, Wash. It had made a refueling stop at Buckley Field, near Denver, Colo.
Radio contact with the C54 was lost at 1:50 p.m. PST (4:50 p.m. EST).
The Federal Aviation Agency said the pilot last radioed from 12,000 feet that the plane was "dropping fast." This was between Elko and Reno.

Nevada State Journal Reno 1968-01-12




Battle Mountain (UPI) -- The bodies of 12 members of a Marine combat instruction team, along with 7 crew members of their transport plane, were found Thursday in the Nevada wilderness.
A ground party which reached the scene of the plane crash said, "They didn't have a chance." The bodies were to be removed Friday from the side of 9.779-foot Mt. Tobin.
The C54 smashed into the desolate mountain area of Northern Nevada Wednesday. It apparently crashed near the top of the mountain and slid down 2,000 feet, according to the rescue unit which reached the area from a narrow mountain road.
A 13th passenger, Lance Cpl. ROBERT A. BEARD, en route home on leave, left the plane during a stop in Denver and flew home to Edmunds, Wash.
The plane, on a flight from Denver, Colo., to Seattle, Wash., was last heard from Wednesday afternoon when the pilot radioed it was "dropping fast" with heavy icing in its wings.
Marine officials said the passenters[sic] included a warfare presentation team on a 10-day tour of Western military bases to instruct U.S. servicemen on techniques of amphibious landings.
Early Thursday, 35 military and civilian aircraft, coordinated by Hamilton Air Force Base authorities, began criss-crossing the rugged terrain near Mt. Tobin, located 40 miles southwest of the town of Battle Mountain and 120 miles northeast of Reno.
At the report the wreckage had been sighted, two ground rescue teams were dispatched, one from Battle Mountain and one from Lovelock.
"We're going to have a rough time," said Pershing County Sheriff DAN HIGGINS. "We can't get all the way in on roads and we'll probably have a hard time getting the bodies out."
The rescue teams, traveling on foot and in four-wheel-drive trucks, packed medical supplies, food and radios for the trip up the mountain where nighttime temperatures recently have dropped below zero.
Military spokesmen said the plane took off Monday from Quantico, Va., and landed the same date at Buckley Air National Guard Station in Colorado.
The team gave a presentation at nearby Lowry A.F.B. Tuesday and left the base shortly before noon Wednesday bound for Seattle.
Last radio contact with the transport was five hours later when the icing condition developed at an altitude of 12,000 feet.

Nevada State Journal Reno 1968-01-13


I was on the AWPT from May

I was on the AWPT from May 1966 until discharged Nov 1967. I missed being on the plane by less than two months. During my time on the team I served with your father, my rank was Cpl. Col. Holdzkom was a gentleman and simply put a nice guy. He treated all of us enlisted men with kindness and respect. He would often join us for beers in different cities around the world. Col. Holdzkom helped me out of a sticky situation before I was discharged. Your father was a credit to the U.S.M.C.

Semper Fi

marine transport 50850 from quantico va.

I was crew chief on c-54-p 50850 stationed at quantico Virginia around 1965 to 1967 squadron soes and would like to make contact with anyone to discuss my time on it.suVBL

crash site

Alan, I know the owner of a ranch which is at the base of the mountain, on the western flank. The ranch is at about 5,500 feet. His name is Robert Hager and he is a good guy. If you want access, I am sure he will agree. My number is 775786 5477. I had a cousin in the Marines. He won the Medal, and got killed doing so. Fritz Mausert III. There is a lot of snow this year, but you could probably make it to the top in mid or late July. Pretty spectacular country. About as remote as you can get in the lower forty-eight. Be well. Mark

plane crash

The site is remote. On the west side there is no highway. There is a dirt road which runs through a valley which has four ranches.
I was out there this summer. It is a beautiful place, but very remote. I'm sorry for your loss.

My Dad Died Also That Day

My father, MAJ Raymond Hower (posthumously promoted to LTC) was also on that flight, a mere couple of months after his return from Vietnam. He was a fighter pilot.

He left behind 4 children - 3 daughters and one son. I was the oldest; by brother was the youngest.

My brother followed in our father's footsteps and became a Marine officer, flying fixed wing. He retired from the MC and now flies for a commercial airliner.

My brother's son is in a Marine ROTC program and will soon graduate from college. He completed OCS at Quantico and after his commissioning, he will return to Quantico for TBS. He currently plans to also become a pilot.

Col. L. N. Holzkom...and grandson. Now full-circle in death...

Today, I officiated the funeral service for Lincoln Hailds Holzkom, 33 years old grandson of Col. Lincoln N. Holzkom, who was killed in this aircraft disaster. The younger Lincoln was mortally injured in a single vehicle accident on the 57 Fwy and died at Pomona Valley Hospital (Pomona CA), on December 13, 2015. Col. Holzkom would have been proud of his grandsons (including Lincoln's younger brother, John), as both were/are Major League Baseball players. John is pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Here's a section from my notes as presented at the funeral:

"Lincoln was selected by the Florida Marlins in the 7th round (212th overall) of the 2001 Major League Baseball draft and played for about five (5) years in that organization. After the 2003 season, he was ranked No. 11 in the organization. Unfortunately, after suffering a serious injury and enduring the so-called Tommy John surgery (known in medical parlance as ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) reconstruction), he had to sit out the entire 2004 season. On March 28, 2006, Lincoln was traded to the Chicago Cubs along with Zach McCormack for Todd Wellemeyer. In April 2007, Lincoln was traded to the Boston Red Sox organization and then, in December was selected by the Philadelphia Phillies in the major league phase of the Rule 5 draft. In 2009, Lincoln was picked up by the Pittsburgh Pirates organization. Over the course of his too-short career, five (5) times he was ranked in the Top 30 Prospects of three (3) different major league organizations. At 6’5” and weighing in at 245 lbs., Lincoln cut quite a figure on the mound. His brother shows that same form with the Pirates organization--plus 2" (at 6'7").

"By 2009, with his baseball career apparently on the wane, Lincoln considered a career in law enforcement. He completed boot camp for the U.S. Border Patrol in 2011, but then he and his brother, John were offered an opportunity to play for the fledgling New Zealand national baseball team, the Diamondblacks. Since their dad, a USMC Colonel was born in New Zealand—and therefore, a bit of a Kiwi, himself—and their Nannie a native of the nation, it was a natural fit and, if I do say so, a tremendous break for Lincoln. Linda said, “It was a once in a lifetime opportunity.” At last, Lincoln and John could make their respective marks at the very beginning of a developing international team, and do it together. Not every player, or brother, has that kind of opportunity. Although Lincoln jumped at the opportunity, he had to forego his law enforcement career in the process (Linda said she was glad to hear it; she never liked the idea of him being in law enforcement, anyway).

"In November 2012 John and Lincoln played for the New Zealand Diamondblacks in the MLB World Baseball Classic in Taipai, Taiwan, ultimately losing to Taiwan’s superior team of pros. But, enough of losing; in one game of the 2012 WBC, John got the win as the starting pitcher, and Lincoln got the save. Now, that’s how you play baseball. In spite of their loss to Taiwan, the Diamondblacks held their heads high because they had been on the field with the truly world class team and besides, the Kiwis were a program in infancy. Taiwan was on the field with them! Their time for a winning rematch against Taiwan would eventually arrive. Of that team, Pandy Fruean (Baseball New Zealand) wrote:

“I witnessed these guys become a brotherhood who played for each other and this is why we did so well when no one expected anything of us. Lincoln was a big part of creating that brotherhood in a few short weeks, but it has laster over 3 years with everyone keen to come back and do it all, again.”

"You’ve already heard the perception of Ryan Flynn, CEO of Baseball New Zealand, but it bears repetition: “The boys will rally around John, and we'll win for Lincoln and the family--I honestly believe we can.” The compelling memory of the young man who always believed it was possible demands it be so."

Tragic losses of two great men. May they rest in peace together, though they never knew each other.

Information on crew

My name is Alan Stinar, I am the historian for the Marine Corps Air Transport Association. I'm hoping to find information about the crew and the crash itself, any documents, photos, video, audio, would be appreciated for our historical database. I can be reached by email or my phone number.


Alan Stinar
Historian, Marine Corps Air Transport Association (MCATA)

Col. James R. Priddy

I am a curator with the National Museum of the Marine Corps. I would like to speak to you regarding your father, can you please contact me at your earliest convenience. My apologies for reaching out to you via this website but this is the only place I could contact you.

Gretchen Winterer
[email protected]

The Parting

Iam Bruce Priddy . My Dad was killed on that plane crash too. His name was Col James Reed Priddy.. He was good friends was Col Dobson. I was wornding if there were any more copies of the parting out there??. Iam sorry for your loss in 68. I was 10 and we lived in the city of Tustin in Orange County Calif. Didn t you guys live in the same city??Well Hope to hear from you soon.... Bruce Priddy

Niece of Pilot Charles Dobson

My Wife is the Niece of Charles Dobsons wife Dorthy who just recentl past away. They were very close and our son was named after Charles. We have the book "The Parting" which she wrote after the crash. It would mean a lot to have something that may have belonged to Colonel Charles Dobson.