On March 20th, 1953, the four-engined Douglas C-54G was carrying 30 airmen and a crew of five bound for the Pacific island of Guam. It left from Roswell, New Mexico, for the American protectorate, but was making an intermediate stop at Oakland Municipal Airport, where the plane was scheduled to make a crew change.
Harvey Rogers, Transocean's chief pilot and one of America's most experienced flyers, was at the controls, and the airmen on board were all maintenance specialists from Walker Air Force Base in Roswell, bound for a tour of duty with the 509th Bomber Wing. The crew of five -- three pilots and two stewardesses -- were civilians.
After departing Roswell the flight progressed in a routine manner and at 2:51 in the afternoon, when in the vicinity of Winslow, Arizona, the Defense VFR flight plan was changed to Instrument, but still flying at least 500 feet over the top of the clouds. At 6:19 PM, the flight reported over the Newark, California, compass locator and fan marker at 8,000 feet where it held for 11 minutes.
At 6:27, Oakland Approach Control cleared Flight 942 for a straight-in range approach, to descend in the holding pattern to cross the Newark compass locator at 3,500 feet and to report leaving each 1,000-foot level. Three minutes later, at 6:30, the flight reported leaving 8,000 feet, and subsequently reported leaving each 1,000-foot level. Lastly, at 6:36, it reported being at 3,500 feet leaving the Newark compass locator inbound.