DECEMBER 5TH, 1945 MEMORIAL | A day that lives in Infamy!

Alongside December 7th, 1942, December 5th, 1945 is also a day that will forever be remembered infamously. Why is that you ask?  Because it too was a day of great loss; another senseless tragedy for the country.

We remember on that day 72 years ago when 14; World War II veterans; naval aviators and crew, many of them combat survivors, went missing off the coast of Florida.  They weren’t lost during a daring raid on some enemy shipping or in defense of some island. No, the war had ended.  Instead they were lost during a simple and routine training exercise in a time of peace, in preparation for the next time.

Photos Graciously provided by Minerva Bloom and the Naval Air Museum Fort Lauderdale Florida.

” THE 19th FLIGHT “
FT – 28 Flight Leader: NASFL Instructor, Lt. Charles Carroll Taylor, USNR. Aircraft: TBM-3D – BuNo 23307.
Crew: Gunner George Francis Devlin, AOM3c, USNR. Radioman: Walter Reed Parpart, Jr. ARM3c, USNR.

FT – 36 Pilot: Capt. Edward Joseph Powers, USMC. Aircraft: TBM-1C – BuNo 46094.
Crew: Gunner Sgt. Howell Orrin Thompson, USMCR. Radioman: Sgt. George Richard Paonessa, USMCR.

FT – 81 Pilot: 2nd Lt. Forrest James Gerber, USMCR. Aircraft: TBM-1C – BuNo 46325.
Crew: (Only one) Pfc. William Lightfoot, USMCR. That day, Corporal Allan Kosnar had asked to be excused from this exercise.

FT- 3 Pilot: Ensign Joseph Tipton Bossi, USNR. Aircraft: TBM-1C –  BuNo 45714.
Crew: Gunner Herman Arthur Thelander, S1c, USNR. Radioman: Burt E. Baluk, S1c, USNR.

FT- 117 Pilot: Captain George William Stivers Jr., USMC. Aircraft: TBM-1C –  BuNo 73209.
Crew: Gunner Sgt. Robert Francis Gallivan, USMCR. Radioman: Pvt. Robert Peter Gruebel, USMCR.”

Additionally we remember the 13 crew members of Training-49; a PBM-5 Mariner sea plane that was lost with all hands during the search and rescue operations that day.  In the end, though the Navy put a tremendous effort into finding the crews, the worsening weather and darkness of the great ocean proved too much that December.

In conclusion, I’d ask that you read the words written below out of respect and tradition for those who made the ultimate sacrifice both in war & continue to do so in time of peace.

* Eternal Father (The Navy Hymn) found on the U.S. Navy Home Page

Verse 1: Eternal Father, strong to save,
Whose arm hath bound the restless wave,
Who bidd’st the mighty ocean deep
Its own appointed limits keep;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!

Verse 2: O Christ! Whose voice the waters heard
And hushed their raging at Thy word,
Who walked’st on the foaming deep,
And calm amidst its rage didst sleep;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!

Verse 3: Most Holy Spirit! Who didst brood
Upon the chaos dark and rude,
And bid its angry tumult cease,
And give, for wild confusion, peace;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!

Verse 4: O Trinity of love and power!
Our brethren shield in danger’s hour;
From rock and tempest, fire and foe,
Protect them wheresoe’er they go;
Thus evermore shall rise to Thee
Glad hymns of praise from land and sea.

1860 by William Whiting of Winchester, England, 

Eternal Father, grant, we pray,
To all Marines, both night and day,
The courage, honor, strength, and skill
Their land to serve, thy law fulfill;
Be thou the shield forevermore
From every peril to the Corps.
J. E. Seim (1966)