Military History/Piper L-4



I'm helping a friend restore a Piper L-4.Believe it was used in the Ryukyus Command, paper work very hard to read.
Can you help with it's history?
Army ID 45-4962, Mfg Ser. 13702


Hello Mike,

I am more than willing to assist you and your friend in trying to find out the history of your L-4.

From my last two experiences in trying to find out information about L-4’s, their service records and history, I learned that it took me weeks to months to get the information.  I just wanted to be upfront, and inform you that it might take a little time to find out and gather information.

Here are some additional contacts that will help you speed up the process of getting the historical information, and also in assisting you in the restoration of your friends L-4.

You can contact the Piper Owner Society.

There is gentleman named LTC Sonny Pittman who is always willing to help with the identification and assistance with obtaining records on L-4’s.  He is also known to be willing to assist others in the restoration of L-4’s and has extensive knowledge in the restoration of L-4’s.

Here is LTC Pittman’s Contact Information.

LTC Sonny Pittman
2202 Holly Haven Court
Augusta, GA 30907
Phone: (706) 860-1050

You can contact the Air Force Historical Research Agency in Maxwell AFB, Alabama, to see if that have any further information on your friends L-4.  Usually they only have the aircraft card.  They are currently several weeks to about two months behind in getting any information.

The Main contact person there is a Mrs. Lynn Gamma

Lynn Gamma
600 Chennault Circle
Maxwell AFB, AL

Tel: (334) 953-2395

You can email Mrs. Lynn Gamma directly at AFHRANEWS@MAXWELL.AF.MIL

Or you can write or email Archie diFante, an Archivist at the Air Force Historical Research Agency.

Archie diFante, Archivist
600 Chennault Circle
Maxwell AFB, AL 36112-6424

You can email Mr. Archie diFante directly at

You can also contact the National Air and Space Museum Archives; I would only use this as the last resort as they are very slow to respond.

Allan Janus          
Archives Reference Desk

Archives Division
MRC 322
National Air and Space Museum
PO Box 37012
Washington DC  20013-7012

Tel: 202-633-2320

If the links does not allow you to click on them directly, cut and paste it into a new browser.

I look forward to trying to assist you in attempting to get the history of the L-4 Project that you and your friend are working on.



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John Vargas


I can answer general as well as specific questions about U.S. Army – Naval Aviation from 1913 to 1946 and WWII U.S. Airborne, to include key personalities, units, commands – doctrines. My specialty is U.S. Aviation Badges (all Branches of the Service, from WWI to the Present), U.S. Airborne Badges and Insignia (from WWII to the Present) as well as Issued Flight Gear (flight uniforms, helmets, sunglasses, etc.). I also specialize in Airborne, as well as Infantry Badges and Insignia (from WWI to the Present), both authorized as well as unauthorized of the period. I have all the actual original badges, insignia and most of the flight gear that are specific to this period of history as they are part of my personal collection. I also have access to a vast personal library of publications – text, which includes original orders, manuals, books, die card, die envelopes, guides and many other publications that are period, as well as publications – text from others...such as museums.


I have over 20 years’ experience in collecting and cataloging WWI to WWI U.S. Army Aviation – U.S. Naval Aviation, WWI to WWII U.S. Issue Aviation Flight Gear, U.S. Airborne Badges, Insignia and Airborne Equipment. I was the former assistant curator at the Gen. Wm. C. Lee Airborne Museum in NC. I have written histories of Wing Badges – Aviation Insignia for several manufacturing companies to include The Robbins Company, Bailey Banks & Biddle, and I am working on the histories for several other companies at the moment such as Bausch & Lomb Tiffany, Herff Jones as well as several others. I am a consultant on regular basis to many museums, including the U.S.A.F., U.S. Army, Private and Public Museums, the Institute of Heraldry, as well as the Department of National Defence (Canada), for the Canadian Armed Forces. I am regularly called upon to authenticate U.S. Aviation Badges, Insignia and Flight Gear (all Branches of the Service) for Fine Auctions Houses such as Bonham’s, as well as sunglass manufactures such as Including Bausch & Lomb (vintage verification) and many others.

Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association (VHPA-FL) Historian – I am not a Vietnam Veteran nor a Vietnam Era Helicopter Pilot, I was not old enough to serve in Vietnam, unless the U.S. needed a one-year-old and then I would have Proudly Served.

I am perusing an advanced degree in history (Ph.D.), with a concentration in WWI and WWII U.S. Aviation. I am a U.S. Army Paratrooper and I am a Qualified and Rated Aviator.

Awards and Honors
Kentucky Colonel, National Honor Society, President’s List, Campbell University, Distinguished Honor Graduate, Various “Who's Who”, from 1988 to Present, Numerous Special Recognition Awards both Military and Civilian.

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