TACAMO Fallen Veteran - Dunton Wyatt, VQ-4 Plankowner
October 3, 1940 - July 23, 2021
Tribute to A VQ-4 Pioneer
This past week, former LT Dunton Wyatt passed away in his sleep, at age 81. He was one of those quiet pioneers who just did whatever it took to get the mission done. Not truly a ‘one tour wonder’, Dunton really had two TACAMO tours, one pre-commissioning of VQ-4 as a Nav and then as a nugget pilot and one post-commissioning as an Aircraft Commander. He probably was the first in TACAMO to make that transition. We are talking 1964 to 1969 when TACAMO II was roll on/roll off and replaced by the built-in TACAMO III system, just before Dunton left VQ-4. Pre-squadron commissioning, Dunton spent time TAD to VQ-3 after it moved to Guam and earned a Viet Nam Service medal for C-130 ops in that theater. Due to the range of the TACAMO transmitters of his day, Dunton’s deployment stops included Scotland, Iceland, Denmark, Spain, the Azores, Ireland, Canada, and many UK locations.
Once he earned this Naval Aviator Wings of Gold, Dunton never stopped flying. He left the Navy and flew with the Federal Aviation Administration for 25 years. Having completed carrier quals in a T-28C in ’65, he flew with VMGR-352 in Hercs for experience and qualified in the KC-130F model. But with the FAA, Dunton really hit the jackpot, flying 5 Cessna models, Beech Bonanza, Aero Commander, Mooney Super 20, Piper Cherokee, American Yankee and twins Baron King Air, Aztec II, DC-3, Gulfstream G-159, Lockheed L-1329 (Jet Star), and Embraer 110. That’s not all! He earned helicopter quals and flew Hughes 269, 300, and 500, Bell Jet Ranger, and UH-1 Hueys. One of his FAA helo jobs was to fly the edge of restricted airspace to keep lookie louie’s from interfering with Space Shuttle launches. He once said “Now THAT’S the way to observe a Shuttle launch!” All told Dunton flew 6,400 flight hours! Throughout all that, the Herc remained his favorite bird. He was proud to tell all that when he joined fellow VQ-4 plankowners at the TACAMO Reunion at Marietta, Georgia in 2014. In just that one pilot tour, Dunton had accumulated over 2,000 Herc hours.
Retiring to Pinehurst, North Carolina, Dunton was smitten with the golf bug and volunteered to help run many US Opens and kids golf tournaments. At age 65, he went with his sons and as aviators say “jumped out of a perfectly good airplane”, adding skydiving to his airborne achievements.
Truly one of those Take Charge and Move Out guys, Dunton Wyatt was the JO VQ-4 needed when most Aircraft Commanders were nearly all former WW II pilots. He pioneered that first tour AC/Instructor Pilot mold at a time when TACAMO had just been born. Anyone with those quals owes a debt to the pioneer, LT Dunton Wyatt! Rest in Peace, Mate.
Obituary Link Click Here - There are no events scheduled at this time.
TCVA extends its sympathy and prayer for peace to Wyatt's family and friends during this time of the passing.