Cardinal FLIGHT-19 Research Resources (Pg.2) Updated 2/23/2022

A US Navy Sailor, bugler from (C)1917? Public Domain Image

DISCOVERY – January 30th, 2021

If I have learned anything so far in my quest for the historical facts regarding Flight-19, points that really need to be shared, they are the following.

The first, is that there is an inherent risk in accepting whatever you read or hear about the story of Flight-19 at face value, no matter what the source. Yes, even official reports and documentation from the era can have misleading and incorrect information. Albeit it is often seems informed and sometimes contains expert opinion – a few sources even have corroborating documentation- and we do have to be pramatic and start somewhere right? Just keep in mind much of it has never been vetted and until it is, it is at best unfortunately nothing but circumstantial evidence based on hearsay.

“For as I believe any Historian will tell you, memories fade over time, people make mistakes, and there is always the opportunity for bias in retelling history.”

The uncertainty of even basic information, which we would normally consider as being trustworthy concerning everything from plane nomenclature, fuel capacity, equipment and maintenance work before the flight, to reports of sightings of survivors during the search and rescue should only be considered tentative facts until they are validated technically through examination of manuals or review of corroborating evidence and testimony.

I must admit that I was naïve in my belief that I could rely on the veracity of even the formal sources in the first place. Having been in the military myself I should have known better. I have seen my share of pencil whipped maintenance paperwork being submitted as authoritative documentation for one reason or another.

My second illumination, is that for the time being the legend of the Flight-19 disappearance and the Bermuda Triangle enigma are, for better or for worse, seemingly forever intertwined. I believe it’s fair to say that Flight-19 stays current in super natural lore simply because of it’s association with the Bermuda Triangle. If there were no triangle then the allure of the Flight-19 story would likely have faded into history years ago.

Conversely, it makes one wonder if the reverse were true: that if there was no Flight-19, would the luster of the Bermuda Triangle still exist? When’s the last time you heard of a ship or plane dissapearing? Whatever the case we must rely on the available evidence to find the facts to lead us forward in any working theory on either topic.

Unfortunately, until someone finds long lost documentation in the National archives or in someone’s basement, or the US Navy comes forward with some new information regarding its knowledge of events since 1945, or someone defnitively finds the planes, any speculative theory may never be proven.

A final piece of insight.

Anyone taking this research seriously needs to be forewarned of the specter that loiters in the background of even the most legitimate and seriously open minded Flight-19 research. I hesitate to call it conspiracy, but one might begin to ruminate about the possibility of subterfuge or duplicity on the part of the US Navy and perhaps the government itself. It’s an inferred correlation, speculative at best, but one that deserves some consideration just the same. There just seems to be too much coincidence regarding naval involvement and possible interferrence to ignore.

We will examine this invisible intrigue in a future blog.

Pg. 1

FLIGHT-19 PICS – A Tale of Two Planes and Two Numbers!


Dateline – 30 January 2020

It’s a little noticed Flight-19 detail, but according to the U.S. Navy, (Image #1), there were two different models of TBM Avengers flying Navigational Hop-1 that day in 1945.  Four of the planes were shown to be TBM-1C’s , and the fifth, FT-28, was a TBM-3.  As an amateur Flight-19 historian, I had overlooked and made little note of this information until just recently when I noted what appeared to be a discrepancy in the book Discovery of Flight-19 by Jon Myhre.  Myhre a much respected Flight-19 researcher and author claimed that FT-28 was a TBM-3D not a TBM-3.

I was comforted knowing that I was not alone in my ignorance to the plane differences. For years this obtuse distinction between Flight-19 aircraft has understandably by and large gone unacknowledged by the general public. To the untrained eye, the aircraft look the same. If you weren’t aware that there were different TBM variants, you wouldn’t be looking for them.

This confusion regarding characteristic variations in aircraft over time has been further compounded by the erroneous photographs found in, books, newspapers, magazines, TV shows and movies. These images have been  unintentionally misleading the general public into believing that not only were all the aircraft the same but that there are existing photographs of the planes and crews together. 

To investigate and prove or disprove these assertions, my wife and I went to the NAS Ft. Lauderdale museum, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida on a research vacation. What we didn’t expect to find in our inquiry was the lack of attributed photographic evidence and documentation found in the museums collection. Still despite the seemingly lacking material provenance we remained undaunted in our search.

(Image#1)Accident-report-Flight-19-pilot-Taylor-1. Bureau Number (BuNu) #23037 Official Navy Document provided by the NAS Ft. Lauderdale Museum

Not long after starting our investigation however perhaps the most familiar photograph of the plane famously known as FT-28 and most commonly associated with Flight-19 (Photo# 1) was made known to us by the director of the museum John Bloom. Before we could get our hopes up, we were informed that it was not the plane leading the “Lost Patrol”.

According to Bloom the credit for this discovery should be attributed to the founder of the NAS Fort Lauderdale Historical Association – Allan F. McElhiney (now deceased). I asked John how McElhiney, (a driving force behind the museums creation), knew it wasn’t the same plane? He was unsure how to respond and unable to go into detail ‘ he was just told that (he) McElhiney knew ‘. 

So how did McElhiney figure it out? Let’s start with circumstantial evidence.

According to Bloom, ‘At the time of the Flight-19 disappearance there were approximately 180 Avengers, a few SNJ’s and other training planes assigned to NAS Fort Lauderdale ‘  From a practical perspective, because the Navy was re-consolidating and closing other naval aviation training facilities like NAS Miami in the months immediately following the war, it stands to reason that Ft. Lauderdale was a recipient of TBM, perhaps even TBF Avengers to use for training and parts. But this information doesn’t allow us to unequivocally claim that the plane is not FT-28.

Previous Model of Ft-28 NAS Ft. Lauderdale
(Photo #1) FT-28 (Circa 1943/44) Mistakenly identified as a TBM-3 this is not the plane that led Flight-19! Photo courtesy of the NAS Ft. Lauderdale Museum.

Let’s look further into the photo itself. To reach the same findings as McElhiney, one has to ignore all references to the number 28 in the photograph. After all you will see, it is the center of the mis-perception. We also need to examine a couple of generations of the TBF/TBM Avenger line to make the comparison distinguishing plane variants. 

Using TBF/TBM aircraft identification reference materials (1*,2*) (See last page.) and by closely comparing the images, we can see details important in distinguishing the models.  

1.) Though it is not visible from the front (Photo #1) the TBM-1 Avenger had a single .50 caliber machine gun built into the nose of the plane mounted up close to the cockpit. It was powered by the 1700 HP Wright R-2600-8 engine which had a single engine scoop air intake built into the upper portion of the engine cowling . 

2.) The TBM-1C Avenger kept the engine with the single scoop but added a second machine gun, moving one to each wing root and eliminating the nose mount altogether.

3.) The TBM-3 Avenger kept the machine guns in the wing root but replaced the engine with the 1900 HP Wright R-2600-20, 14 cylinder, air cooled radial engine. Designers evidently felt the added heat required an additional air intake to be added in the lower cowling.

As can be clearly seen in the photo above the second air intake is not present and the two machine gun mounts, one each, are just visible on each wing. We have therefore visually proven the theory put forth by McElhiney that the plane shown is actually a TBM-1C, assigned the tail registration number 28. 

So, what difference does that make you may ask?  First and most importantly, it proves that the Avenger aircraft numbered 28 pictured is not the plane famously associated with Flight-19 and piloted by Navy Lt. Charles C. Taylor!

In the larger scope of all things Flight-19, it also means that we cannot rely solely on the painted on plane tail registration numbers to identify plane photographs and for that matter wrecks. Though the plane number may be the most focal point in finding and identifying wreckage, an in depth analysis using official documentation, the Bureau Number in conjunction with the examination of the plane structure is the most accurate means of verification.  The second set of numbers makes the difference in proving identification.


C.C. Taylor and Possible PTSD?

Is it possible that Lt. Charles C.Taylor could have been suffering some kind of medical malady while leading the Flight-19 training mission on December 5th, 1945? It is a plausible theory. One that needs to be considered. Weather or not he was suffering from the after effects of a late night on the town, or experiencing a legitimate emergency, all factors of his physical health and history should be examined in our investigation of the Flight-19 mystery.

In most of the descriptions of the ill fated story, including the official 1946 Navy report, Taylor; a seasoned combat veteran and experienced pilot, was the cause of, or at least responsible for the loss of the five aircraft and crews.  From a leadership stand point the conclusion made by the naval accident review board, is easy to understand. From the little evidence available all we know is that Taylor was in charge. Therefore: he was responsible for his men no matter what happened. Simple.

But ironically the Navy in the 56 facts and 56 opinions of the report while blaming him for the accident also left room for speculation about his health during the flight. Not making any attempt to interpret his medical or psychological mindset other than to make a blanket statement about his “Temporary Mental Confusion resulting in faulty judgement.” (Pg. 144 #44 &#45) the review board does its best to be impartial, but ends up sounding obtuse in it’s determination.

The report is worded in such a way to suggest all the pilots in the flight were , “physically qualified and temperamentally adapted for flight before take off (Pg.141 #11) and groups Taylor in with the rest of the pilots .  So on one hand they say he was perfectly fine to fly and the next they infer there was some kind of aberration in his psychological or physiological ability to function while in flight.  Sounds fair right? But they don’t mention the evidence leading up to that conclusion.

Either way, there is no doubt that there was something unusual in his demeanor that day seventy one years ago.  The book Discovery of Flight-19 by Jon Myhre; one reflecting many first hand personal interviews of those involved in the event: goes into detail regarding Taylor’s back ground, and his actions previous to, and on that day.  Charles was a natural pilot with a generally uncanny way of determining the correct direction to return to base, without instrumentation. Ultimately his goal was  to transition to a fighter squadron at some point after his current assignment.

Myhre also details how, according to another pilot close to Taylor; Howard Williams, C.C. had a bad feeling about the flight that day.  So much so that he made a call to his mother the day before to discuss it.  We will probably never learn the details of the conversation, but it seems clear above all; he was not being himself.

During Navigational Problem One;  just after the first leg and bombing run had been completed, something happened to Charles C. Taylor making him unable to focus completely on the routine directional tasks at hand. It is easy to speculate about his condition from just the record of radio transmissions between the planes and ground stations. But the Navy stopped short. So if we want answers we must take a stab at the his ‘mental confusion’.

Medically speaking, confusion can come about from any number of reasons ranging from, altitude sickness, to a heart attack, head injuries to de-hydration and to post-traumatic stress disorder. Formerly known as battle fatigue or shell-shock, PTSD injuries may stay dormant for months to years after an event, and outwardly visible signs can be hard to detect.

So can we build a case for PTSD?  Initially we might think he would be a prime candidate categorically; having been in combat and secondly ditching his aircraft at sea and surviving, not once but twice! Avengers were known to sink quite rapidly even in the calmest seas with all hands on board. The stress associated with the need to get out, must have been intense.

According to the Mayo Clinic “PTSD symptoms are generally grouped into four types: intrusive memories, avoidance, negative changes in thinking and mood, and changes in emotional reactions. ” From what we know of Taylor’s actions and the symptoms of the disorder it seems like he may have had at least two symptoms in the last two categories. Hyper vigilance or(being overly aware of possible danger) and  Hypersensitivity, having difficulty concentrating, startling easily, having a physical reaction (rapid heart rate or breathing, increase in blood pressure)

Lets examine facts from the case;

  • He had unofficially and officially asked to be excused from the training flight that morning, but gave no reason for the request. He had called his mom as well.             (Hyper-vigilance)
  • He gave the wrong radio call sign when responding initially by radio as MT-28 not FT-28 and had to be asked to correct it. (Hypersensitivity) Confusion
  • At one point he believes they are over the Florida Keys when in fact they were hundreds of miles away. He continues to return to this belief even after persuaded otherwise. (Hypersensitivity) Confusion
  • He could not determine which direction the Sun had set. In other words he couldn’t find the coast line and the general westerly direction. (Hypersensitivity) Confusion Furthermore; it seemed like his students knew which way was West.
  • Late in the mission, he gives or has control of the flight taken away from him seemingly by the next senior pilot. Later on he regains control of the flight still disoriented.

So why focus on PTSD above all else?  If there was some kind of medical emergency in Ft-28 (Taylors plane) could it have been a heart attack or embolism?   Can we rule out everything else?

In this process of elimination, its fair to say, it is not very likely to have been the case for some other trauma because from what we know of both heart attacks, strokes, and embolisms, Taylor would not have been able to communicate over the radio let alone perform the necessary functions to operate a plane. And in the end the planes stayed in the air close to 4 more hours beyond their projected return time. Even a panic attack would have likely caused an inability to coordinate his faculties.

No. Whatever ailment he was experiencing, it left his faculties intact enough to fly the plane. From what we are told by Myhre, Taylor was not a partier, so a hangover is unlikely, and it was December in Florida which makes dehydration from the heat possible but also unlikely. He may have suffered a head injury during one of his flights or ditches but symptoms of this should have been visible during his briefings or at least his last medical exam in Miami, earlier that year. Since, C.C. lived off post in a house shared with a couple of other pilots his behavior was not easily noted. Even if there was something unusual in his routine it seems no one was willing to discuss it.

But why would he want to cover up any problems anyway? Again we can only speculate, but while there were many veterans trying to get out of the service, there was also a small percentage of those wanting to make a career out of the military. Taylor was in this later group. And it only seems to reason that he wouldn’t want anything to prevent his desire to fly, especially in fighter planes.

In the end we cannot prove any medical condition simply as there are not enough facts. In addition Taylor was known as a cool customer under pressure, so in that light its hard not to give the man the benefit of the doubt.  Still it does make one wonder?










The Role of Glynco, NAS Brunswick Georgia


Those of you who are familiar with the Flight-19 saga know of the reported radar contact made by the USS Solomons CVE-67 December 5th 1945, and of the direction finding plots made by the use of high frequency radio waves.  But what you may not be aware of is that there was also allegedly some kind of contact made by Glynco Naval Air Station in Brunswick Georgia as well.  The base itself which is located equidistant between Savannah, GA, and Jacksonville, FL. was a base for Navy Blimps in 1945.  Specifically the home for Patrol Squadron 15 (ZP-15), a subordinate unit of Fleet Airship Wing One at Lake Hurst, New Jersey .

Now I say alleged contact, because no researcher that I am aware of has really focused on the role the station played in the events that day.  It’s no wonder since that contact has been overlooked by the authorities assigned the case back in 1945. The communications record of that day is like swiss cheese and easy to gloss over.  Any indications of what transpired at Glynco NAS are easily lost in the quagmire of  terminology and naval jargon of the official navy report.

However: in “They Flew into Oblivion by Gian J. Quasar”, the author attempts to tackle the issue and relies on a a few key sentences  to reflect the chaos in the ASR office that day and furthermore as indicated below, to make what I believe a rational  suggestion that  Flight-19 flew farther North and was still up in the air later than generally accepted.


Of course these few transmissions pose more questions than they answer. In this excerpt we need to ask who, (ATC?) is?  Is it Air Transport Command, Air Traffic Control, or someone or something else? Does ‘ seen’ mean they actually physically saw these planes, or were they on the radar or High Frequency Direction Finding? How long had ATC been ‘seeing’ them?  Was there also a military base in Jacksonville FL or was it a civilian station?  At what time did the first message mentioned come in?  How did it come in, via phone or teletype?

If you recall, the teletype was having difficulty operating in the tower that night and  it’s hard to imagine that at 8:50 (20:50 hrs)PM in the middle of Winter, even in Florida that there was that much more light to see by than the rest of the East Coast.

Again,its just one more thing to look into but I think perhaps a key piece to finding the location of the lost planes.

(*)located on pg 205 of the paperback



N.A.S Ft. Lauderdale Training Schedule for, Weds Dec 5th 1945.

One of the questions I’ve had since the start of my investigation, and one subject I haven’t seen addressed very thoroughly is: How many planes were in the air that day. How many were in the air after or concurrently with the 14:10 take off of Flight- 19? How many other training or navigation problems flew out of Ft. Lauderdale? Could other planes from other ‘problems’ still have been in the air after 17:30 when darkness fell?  It is important to be able to eliminate inaccurate plane sightings.

I’ve read recently in Gian Quasars, “They Flew into Oblivion”that there were seemingly 27 Flights of planes scheduled to take off from Fort. Lauderdale Naval Air Station that day 69 years ago.  This is important to note, because though, Flight-19 (FT-28 Lt. Charles C. Taylor) was late taking off, (Flight- 18 Lt. Stoll had taken off approx 20 plus minutes earlier) there were allegedly seven other flights of aircraft, likely TBM’s scheduled to take off in 20 minute increments, after it.

That would mean that most if not all the other flights, unless scrubbed for some other reason, could have been able to get off the ground before the 15:40(3:40PM) distressed call by Taylor. ( Quasar pg. 120)” Flights 16-27 Were still up at 15:40″

Assuming that each flight had 1 Division, two sections (2 Planes per section) and a trainer, that would suggest that there were possibly up to at least 40 additional Navy training aircraft from Ft. Lauderdale: (not to mention Army or Civilian traffic), in the air along with Flight-19 at the time of its troubled flight.

Which means that the 15:00 (3PM) sighting of 4 TBM’s by the SS Ft. William and quite possibly the 17:50 (5:50) radar sighting of the USS Solomon’s of a group of 4 to 6 aircraft off Flagler Beach FL could have been other flights currently out training.

Out of all these aircraft, only a few reported contact with the flight.  Again, according to Quasar, only two other pilots had radio contact with Taylor. Lt-Cox in FT-87 (Flight 25?)and members of Flight 22?  So did no other pilot report anything in their after action briefings? Larry Kusche states in his book “The Disappearance of Flight – 19” (Pg.11) J.B. “Obie” O’Brien, Melvin Pike, and Nathan Puffer,  three other pilots up at the time heard enough of the conversation to determine someone was lost and didn’t know which way to go.”  Other than these, there were allegedly no others reported to help fill the gaps in the official Naval Inquiry Radio log evidence.