An Air Force fly guy

McRoy worked with Fairchild while stationed here, one time flying a new wing -- hanging out the cargo area -- to Texas

McRoy worked with Fairchild while stationed here, one time flying a new wing -- hanging out the cargo area -- to Texas

February 25, 2007|by ERIN JULIUS

Editor's note: Each Sunday, The Herald-Mail runs "A Life Remembered." The story takes a look back - through the eyes of family, friends, co-workers and others - at a member of the community who died recently. Today's "A Life Remembered" is about Douglas E. McRoy, who died Feb. 19 at the age of 81. His obituary appeared in the Feb. 21 editions of The Morning Herald and The Daily Mail.

Douglas E. McRoy is remembered as an amazing guy and sweet man by his brother, Robert L. McRoy of Studio City, Calif.

"He always kept a low profile," said Robert, 76. "He never bragged about his accomplishments.

"I always looked up to him. He was five years older than me," he said.

Douglas McRoy died Feb. 19 at the age of 81 at Reeders Memorial Home in Boonsboro.

He was transferred to Hagerstown in the 1950s by the Air Force, his brother said. McRoy acted as a liaison between Fairchild Aircraft and the Air Force.


While Douglas was working with Fairchild, he met Evelyn Shoemaker, who worked in the Fairchild factory, said Carolyn Alexander, a family friend.

The two married Aug. 4, 1956.

McRoy joined the U.S. Air Force after graduating from high school in 1943, his brother said.

Robert McRoy remembers when he and his brother heard about the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

The two were in Los Angeles, trying to fly one of Douglas' model airplanes.

"He was a great model airplane builder," Robert said.

They heard news about the attack over someone's radio. Two years later, Douglas was training to be an Air Force pilot, his brother said.

By the time Douglas had his pilot's license, the war was over, but he spent the next 20 years flying for the Air Force.

In one of Douglas' more notorious moments, he accidentally dumped his flying instructor out of an airplane while training in San Antonio, Texas, Robert said. The instructor wasn't belted in, and when Douglas went to turn the plane, the instructor fell out of the open cockpit. The instructor parachuted to safety, but the incident made newspapers from New York to Los Angeles, Robert said.

While in the Air Force, Douglas was stationed everywhere from Hagerstown to Iceland to Japan. During the Korean War, part of his mission was to fly the wounded home to Hawaii from Korea, his brother said. He also flew 18-hour recognizance missions over Alaska during the Cold War, Robert said.

During the 1950s, The Morning Herald reported that McRoy flew a new wing from Fairchild to Texas in a Flying Boxcar. Pictures show part of the wing was hanging out of the cargo area during the entire trip.

Douglas retired from the Air Force as a major. He went to college on the GI Bill and earned a bachelor's degree at the University of Maryland, College Park.

He spent the next 23 years at the University of Maryland, working as a technical adviser for the College of Education, Carolyn said.

"He loved electronics," she said.

Douglas and his wife returned to Hagerstown after he retired, Carolyn said. Evelyn Shoemaker McRoy died in 2003.

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