PIN THE TAIL ON THE .50 CAL |Tracking a machine gun.

November 26, 2017 – In his book “The Discovery of Flight-19”, Jon Myhre details the wreckage of a naval aircraft from the 1940’s or 50’s found in the woods near the everglades in Felsmere Florida sometime in the 1960’s or 70’s.

The only evidence of this wreck which I know to still exist are items removed from the scene by one of the persons who found the plane, Judge Graham Stikelether of Indian River County, FL.  A .50 Caliber Machine Gun with a bent barrel, a .50 caliber machine gun mount of some kind, and one or two other various un-identified parts, are all that is left.

Destroyed .50- Caliber machine gun found at the Felsmers Florida wreck in the 1960/70’s.

Now, despite there being dozens if not hundreds of missing Navy and Army aircraft from the mid -twentieth century in the waters in and around parts of Florida, this particular wreck is of great interest for a few different reasons.  We’ll focus on just one here.

This specific plane crash site stands out, first and foremost because it was  found inland, and not on the ocean floor!!

Of course, the idea of some of the missing Flight-19 planes crashing over land is a relatively new one, but it holds more merit, than saying they all were sucked up into some kind of vortex over the Bermuda Triangle, and it is much easier to investigate than scanning the sea bottom for metal wrecks. Still it has its challenges.

After 72 years, records have been lost, destroyed, or worse yet redacted, metal rusts, and memories fade away.  But as Jon explains in his 2012 book by the Paragon Agency (ISBN13: 978-1-891030-58-1) if it turns out the wreckage found in Felsmere was that of a TBM-1C Avenger after all, it could very well be that of FT-36 Bul No. 73209.  The plane was piloted by Captain Edward Joseph, Powers Jr. USMC, 09789, and crewed by Staff Sergeant, Howell Orrin,Thompson,  USMCR, 499181 &  Staff Sergeant,George Richard, Paonessa , USMC, 805639.

Can you identify this machine gun mount?

So how can we determine the aircraft identity? Well, one way is through part identification via serial no. plates and records if possible.

Jon had figured out long before I had, that we might be able to pin point the type of aircraft this machine gun came from if we could track  the serial no. from production to delivery.

Unfortunately, there are thousands if not hundreds of thousands of Browning .30 & .50 caliber machine guns out there.  Furthermore; over time the patent to produce them has been sold to dozens of manufacturers around the world. The best I have done so far has been to pretty much duplicate Jon’s research.  The gun as indicated on the plate shown, was made in New Haven Connecticut by the High Standard Company under the Browning moniker.

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ID Serial No. Plate for .50 caliber machine gun. (All Photos courtesy of Jon Myhre.)

I’ve contacted Browning but as they don’t own the military portion of the company anymore the best they could do was forward my request to a history docent at the Browning Museum.  So far that lead hasn’t panned out either and though I haven’t given up and am working on the High Standard connections again as Jon had I don’t expect to make much headway.

However: I believe the key to the identification of the type of aircraft  could be narrowed down by identifying the machine gun mount itself.  First of all, the question is whether it’s a turret mount or a wing mount.?  If it is an AN-M2 aerial machine gun, which I can’t tell from the plate, is it likely a wing mount gun?

The Avenger had a specially mounted gun in a purposely built turret placed to the rear of the pilot. The TBM-1 like other planes of the period had two .50 calibers in the wing root for strafing. If the gun mount photo could be matched to that of an Avenger turret part we would have our answer.  If it turns out to be a wing based gun we’ve gotten no where. It wouldn’t even help determining if it was an Army or Navy plane.  So far photos I have seen of the turret have not shed any light.

My next stop in this part of the investigation is to visit the the Springfield Armory Museum right here in Springfield. Perhaps, I may be able to learn more about the gun there. If you have any information that may be helpful please feel free to contact me at






THE NAVY I.G. & JAG 1945: Protocol & Politics!

After reading the 1945 Flight-19 inquiry results and comparing the referencess made against Lt. Charles C. Taylor, with the 1945 court-martial charges made against Captain Charles B. McVay the III, of the Heavy Cruiser USS Indianapolis, I question why neither the Navy Inspector General  (I.G.) , nor the Judge Advocate General (J.A.G); weren’t involved in the Flight-19 investigation?

One can conclude from examining other previous military mishaps and controversial incidents of the period i.e….Pearl Harbor, the Sinking of the USS Indianapolis…etc., that standing operating procedures seemingly did not call for there utilization at the board of inquiry level.

Could it be so easy to say then that, the lack of involvement of the I.G. & JAG in the Flight-19 controversy, was due to the difference in protocol between the scale & scope of a board of inquiry and that of a court-martial?

The first case, (Taylor’s) never got beyond that precursory board of inquiry stage. The scenario involved a junior level flight training officer in charge of a flight of five planes  and crew, who all went missing at sea off the coast of Florida, during a peace time training exercise and was adjudicated by a board made up of officers below the rank of Navy Captain. Compare those facts versus; a criminal court-martial against a willing and dutiful line officer (McVay), who was held responsible for hundreds of combat related deaths aboard the one ship that delivered the materials for the first atomic bomb, and was presided over by Navy Admirals.

At first glance protocol seems to be the prevailing factor in determining assignments. But even if that were the case, a reasonable person might still conclude then that the Navy; especially while under national scrutiny would want to be seen as thorough in their research of both cases, using all of the resources at hand, to come to a fair and just conclusion. After all, just because the manual may not have dictated I.G. or JAG involvement in the Taylor case, it doesn’t mean they couldn’t have been assigned by the Chief of Naval Operations if not by the Secretary of the Navy.

As was previously described in DOWN WITH THE SHIP, both cases grabbed headlines. Both cases had negative impacts on the reputation of the Navy, in the eyes of the public, and in the halls of Congress at about the same time-frame in 1945. Yet the I.G. and Jag were only assigned to the USS Indianapolis sinking.

If we want to talk scale; at it’s height there were over 200 ships and aircraft both naval and civilian involved in the search for Flight-19. Over a ten day period they searched millions of square miles on both land and sea for the TBM Avengers. The money and time spent alone, seemingly should have been enough to warrant involvement or oversight by at least the Inspector General, especially since there were inconsistencies and inaccuracies throughout the Flight-19 board report leaving more questions than answers in the end.

But having two disturbing events concurrently under examination for possible negligence must have been frustrating for the SECNAV to say the least. So again, in light of the political ramifications, it stands to reason for the sake of self preservation alone, that he would want  to  move as quickly as possible forward with the more visible case against McVay while simultaneously, compartmentalizing the Flight-19 inquiry.

In additions there is every indication that both the I.G. and JAG efforts were marginalized and likely biased in the McVay case.  It would likely have been a waste of time if they had gone to Ft. Lauderdale.

We can suggest this to be the case simply from the actions of key Navy figures and the speed in which events progressed in both cases. This imperative to move ahead with the McVay case by the new Secretary of the Navy, Fleet Admiral James Forrestal and the Chief of Naval Operations CNO Fleet Admiral Ernest King on December 3rd, 1945, explains why  a letter from Admiral Chester Nimitz’s (Formerly McVays Superior) written to the JAG on September 6th, 1945 in objection of the findings of the board ‘for lack of evidence’ against McVay was ignored and why court-martial proceedings began before the I.G.s investigation was even completed .

Furthermore, the Flight-19 board of inquiry began just two days after the planes disappeared and was wrapped up with ten days.

Speculation of the fecklessness of the I.G.s office  and quite possibly the JAG in 1945 can be addressed by researching their history’s . The Navy I.G. in essence was just a figure head of a branch of the Navy with little standing reputation and weight. Established, just three years earlier in February 1942: (when the USS Lafayette exploded, capsized and sunk while in New York harbor), the first Navy Inspector General Rear Admiral, Charles P. Snyder had been brought out of retirement to run the office. Under staffed, and listed at that time as a department under the Chief of Naval Operationsthe I.G ‘s office was one of 23 investigative divisions. It was established to, inspect, investigate and report procurement and misconduct investigations to the CNO, not the Secretary of the Navy,  today the SECNAV post is held by a civilian.

As far as the JAG was concerned it too was in its infancy in 1945. For the most part the Navy legal system was still in the midst of the transition from operations using the 1930 Articles for the Government of the Navy, otherwise known as “Rocks & Shoals”, up until and through the creation of the JAG Corps in 1946 and the adoption of  the Uniform Code of Military Justice (U.C.M.J) in 1951.(**)

In essence the R&S rules dictated that each command was responsible for policing itself; holding each sailor accountable ultimately to the command leadership. The Officer in charge, usually the Captain of the ship, decided how to interpret naval tradition, law, and how to dictate punishment. It was a practical decision since many commands were ship born and often out of range of higher headquarters.  “Its difficult to centralize command and control of organizations when a large percentage are floating around in the far flung oceans.” ( Dr Richard Hulver PHD Naval History and Heritage Command.)”

In the end both defendants*, despite supporting evidence and proof of Navy duplicity were solely found culpable for their mishandling of events.

Although in the beginning of 1946 the JAG (Admiral Jennings) did finally recieve a copy of the up to that time classified Flight-19  board findings, the public was still in the dark. The report may have not made it that far as quickly, if it had not been for the pressure applied mainly by Taylor’s mother on the Navy. Her refusal to accept the accusations against her son finally made the difference in exonerating him at the Naval Board of Corrections proceedings later in 1946.

(*Taylor would have likely been a court-martial defendant if he had been present at the board.)

Kurzman, Dan (1990), Fatal Voyage: The Sinking of the USS Indianapolis, New York: Athenaeum, pp. 246–247

Quasar, Gian They Flew into Oblivion






DOWN WITH THE SHIP: Questioning the political back drop of the Flight-19 Board of Inquiry Investigation.

Co-incidences in the timing and location of the Flight-19 board of inquiry have always made me suspect the legitimacy of its results. As other authors have stated previously, the erroneous conclusion against Lt. Charles C. Taylor reached by the board and defended by the Navy Department, resulted from at best, an inadequate investigation.

Not all of the 56 facts and 56 conclusions were attributed to Taylor’s inadequacies and the expediency of the results was not likely arbitrary either.  The Navy itself had a role to play in the debacle. From inadequate equipment operation, and maintenance to poor search and rescue co-ordination, the Navy would also be found culpable two years later.

In the end, the possibility of collusion between the board members and the witnesses deflecting blame away from the personnel at Ft. Lauderdale, and in turn away from the Navy training command, might seem like a case of plausible deniability with suspiciously political machinations.

But to see the complexity and possible subterfuge involved in the decision to admonish Taylor, one needs to look at the larger scope of the political landscape during the proceedings late in 1945?

History has shown that at the end of every major conflict, the U.S.military complex and the  U.S.Congress especially, examines the defensive strategies for the nation in the end matching needs to the budget. The result would often lead to the massive reorganizing or near elimination of the Marine Corps, and reduction of the Navy, usually in favor of the Army. This almost; tradition, helped create the basis for the Army & Navy rivalry that exists today.

World War II was no exception to this scrutiny. In fact with the advent of the atomic age there was an even greater examination of the services, again in favor of the Army, the soon to be Air Force and curiously the naval air arm.

With the need to scale back recruitment, and production, expedite discharges, and in general reduce force levels back to prewar status, Admiral James V. Forrestal then Secretary of the Navy, had his hands full.  Public perception was a large factor to contend with in his proposed defense of the nation: a naval future, centered around the aircraft carrier.

So how would it look in the eyes of the nation to loose six Navy planes (including the Navy PBM rescue plane)  due to pilot negligence, off the coast of Florida no less? Now imagine how much worse it would have been if the Navy itself was found at fault? Timing was crucial.

Lets answer the question with a question.  Is it a co-incidence that the Court-Martial of Navy Captain Charles Butler McVay the III formally of the cruiser USS Indianapolis; demanded by Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Ernest J. King, and overseen by Secretary of the Navy Forrestal, ran simultaneously with the Flight-19 board of inquiry?

Both incidents attracted copious amounts of press coverage, but the Court Martial of McVay much more than the Flight-19 board of inquiry.

Could this also explain why the Navy stayed tight lipped regarding the Flight-19 board results until well into 1946? Or it could clarify why the naval air training command proceeded with the investigative board just 2 days into the search for the missing planes? And why it only took a mere 10 days based on only transcripts of radio transmissions, ground staff observations,  and maintenance paperwork, to find in favor of Taylor’s incompetence that day.

Did it matter anyways? Though the decision to fault Taylor was later – (after a tenacious fight by his mother to clear his name ), formally reversed by the Navy in a separate review board determination in 1947; in effect he like McVay is still judged historically at fault today, simply because he was in charge.

From a military leadership perspective both were reasonable conclusion, even if unfair. An unfortunate circumstance and consequence of the a fore mentioned Court-Martial of McVay. “The lesson here is that a decision can be legally correct and still be unjust.” ( Stanton pg 279 ) In other words: The Captain should always goes down with the ship.


In Harm’s Way by Doug Stanton, ISBN 0805066322 Henry Holt and Company NY 2001 Copywright Reed City Productions LLC



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?










Ship Deck Logs & Radar

0306706 CVE-67 Escort Carrier 1941-1946

3 November 2016

As leader of the research group my plan was to search specifically for the deck logs of the USS Solomons CVE-67 from the December 1945 time frame.(Pic 1) We were successful in finding it and those of the ships in formation with it during the search for the missing Flight-19 TBM’s (Pic 2, Model from the National Air & Space Museum) Excluding the Solomons, the USS Borum (DE-790), USS Durik (DE-666) and the USS Jenks (DE-665) all destroyer escorts  were in the same area of operations for the search.  The DE’s performed various functions during the cruise to include actions as plane guards and radar picketing.

At a couple of points they each broke off to either refuel or drop off injured personnel in there home port of Mayport Florida or were tasked to search other areas of ocean in reponse to orders from the Solomons in response to possible sightings of rafts or debris.

Having never seen a Deck Log before I was surprised to find how clean and legible they are. I had pictured an actual hard covered log with hand written notes, similar to those of a diary or a radio logbook or like an old fashioned Captains Log.

They are laid out very systematically. The first page for every day contains columnar numerical figures in regards to meteorological and oceananic information as well as ship and engine performance.

Every notation on the other ‘remarks’ page is usually no longer than a paragraph and mentions every course change, speed change, and time periods.Everything is annotated for a 24 hour period in blocks of 4 hours so the information doesn’t fill more than a 9″ by 14 inch page. It’s very systematic almost robotic in nature.

Having said that. Is it any surprise that the there are very few mentions of the search for Flight-19 in the log?  In fact, there is no mention in any of the pages from December 4th through the 11th December of the weather conditions on the remarks page. That is to say there are no anecdotal entries. Nothing with any personalized commentary or observations. Something I found very strange as it is alleged that she was encountering bad weather in the days immediately following the disappearance to include 30 foot waves at times. Waves tall enough to crash over the bow of the ship.

The Destroyer Escorts would have had a very difficult time plodding through these waters and though many course and speed changes were plotted, again, there was no mention of weather.

Use of SL radar (Ship and close in aircraft with a range at best 20 miles)  by the USS Durik and the USS Borum is mentioned several times during the period between the 5th and 11th of December but at no other time does any other ship indicated the use of any type of radar in any kind of situation. I suppose we can assume, if from nothing else then from the Navy report of the Flight-19 investigation that the Solomons had some type -likely SC – radar in use at some point on December 5th. The SC radar has a maximum range of approx 100 miles. But again it is not indicated at all in the deck logs.

If there is any documentation from the ship regarding the radar track it picked up late on the 5th indicating a non-identified formation of between 5 and 6 planes, it is either in some other form of log, or unfortunately lost to history. We may have to return to the archives at some point.





Special List #44, World War II Vessels

In brief this list (special list #44) is essential to finding any deck logs from naval vessels during the World War II time frame. The book itself is over 100 pages long which explains why only a small portion is visible online. It would take a heck of a large PDF file to provide the information.

As it was explained to me, the book only lists the first accession of records sent from the Navy Historical and Heritage Center to the archives. I’m not sure the NHHC sees it like that but NARA II does.

So even if the dates listed don’t reflect the time frame you are looking for -usually post June 1945- it is likely they have the documentation you are looking for.  It’s probably safe to say that they have deck logs at least to 1946.

If you are researching for deck logs from a particular vessel it is best to visit or call the NARA Archives in College Park Maryland and ask for their assistance.  Though they may be busy, they are more than willing to assist serious researchers. Be patient, as the place is usually packed with people needing help.

If you should ever visit be prepared with the bare minimum of  information needed for them to work with. Start with the (RG) Record Group number that you wish to investigate. If you can provide the Stack Area, Row, Compartment and Shelf No. with the box no you’re golden. Of course you won’t be able to find out this information until you look through the finding aids which are only located in College Park.

So in the end you will need to make a road trip as I did. Good Luck.

NARA II Investigation Brief

6 November 2016

My research assistant Alice and I visited the National Archives in College Park Maryland this past week.  For three days-it was a working vacation- we scoured three different record groups located in the naval historical section of the archives.

First off, I’ve got to say the staff at the archives is most helpful and friendly.  They and the security force may come off harsh at times, but its all done respectfully and for a good reason.  Without the somewhat draconian policies and procedures documents could disappear inexplicably. Furthermore, and perhaps worse for future researchers items could be placed out of order. If you’ve done any raw document investigating the order of things can make a big difference between finding the smoking gun, and missing it.

As for our specific research goals, lets just say we learned more from what we didn’t find than from what we did find. Though it is interesting some of the information we did find is circumstantial to building any case, it still was very limited.

Overall it was a very nice trip and we were somewhat successful in my research.

More detail and specifics to follow in the next blog.

On the Trail of the Deck Logs: Correspondence with NHHC(*)

Approximately  a month and a half ago I made a Freedom of Information Inquiry to the Department of the Navy, specifically the Naval History and Heritage Command in Washington D.C. trying to find the lost Deck Logs from the USS Solomons, (CVE-67).

I surprisingly received my reply yesterday 4 May 2016.  I say surprised because I had directed my request specifically to the Director S.J. Cox.  Though I aimed high; I always try to, I expected any kind of response would come from someone lower down the chain of command.

Director Cox was gracious enough to write me personally and I am very thankful for it. So what does his response boil down to? Well, it was disappointing and encouraging all at the same time. It seems that in the 4 years  or so that the ship had been in existence ( 1942- 1946) the log books and documentation from the last 10 months prior to its decommissioning had not been kept, were lost or disappeared.

Furthermore it turns out that the deck log, possibly  hundreds of pages thick was also not likely kept by the last Captain and that any other personal logs were likely destroyed. Unlike the deck log a diary or personal log has no Naval requirement or regulation enforcing its archiving. If it exists it most likely traveled with the Captain to his next assignment or discharge.

He’s also suggested that no records would be found from the Boston Navy yard as decommissioning ceremonies are  a naval tradition and also not a requirement. And as i mentioned in another blog, my research there was uneventful. That’s the sad part.

On the other hand he gave me some advice suggesting that any records from after Sept 2, 1945, during the period when Flight-19 was lost may have been transferred to NAS Ft.Lauderdale  for use by the Board of Investigation. If that is the case there doesn’t seem to be much mention of it in the resulting board report.

In the end the deck logs may have been sent to the National Archives in College Park Maryland with the rest of the report.

So it looks like I’m definitely going to have to visit Maryland and for that matter Ft. Lauderdale.

Stay tuned.

* Addendum 9/2/2016:So what happened to the last Deck Log? See the previous post dated from June 2016.  The last Ten Months of the Solomons can be located at the National Archives in Maryland.


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



USS Solomons Found!!

As of last Friday June 10th 2016, I had finally verified the location of the ‘missing’ CVE-67 USS Solomons decklog. A minor success for me, but potentially a huge one for anyone following in my steps and  researching the flight-19 mystery.

The written record covering the official ship activities from May 1945 to June 1946; come to find out is at the National Archives at College Park Maryland.  The chain of custody is relatively short but confusing. The US Navy has what I will call ‘a modern day policy’ that all deck logs from ships that are decommissioned are turned over to the navy and stay with the Navy’s History and Heritage Command (NHHC) for thirty years, after which time they are transferred unceremoniously to the National Archives.

Now you have to imagine what things were like seventy one years ago, at the end of the greatest war ever known.  A time when many soldiers, sailors and airmen had been drafted and wanted to get the heck out of the service of Uncle SAM.  An entire nation was dismantling a war machine never seen in its history.  Many ships were being decommissioned and sold for scrap or mothballed at a furious pace.

It had to be organized chaos, but chaos non the less. Things could get lost or destroyed. According to the Navy, at that time a deck log was basically a bound diary the size of legal paper and could contain up to thousands of pages of paper, and possibly that many entries for that matter.  Not an easy item to loose or over look, but it was a possibility during the frantic deconstruction of the naval service.

It was also a possibility; albeit a slim one, that the ships final commander may have packed it up for a souvenir. Hence one reason for my search for Captain Smith.  It could have been saved by the scrap yard too. These were all avenues I had to look into when I first started my research.

After making inquiries with both NHHC and NARA in Waltham MA- both dead ends- I was starting to realize that finding it was not going to be an easy task. I was beginning to think that I would have to put more time into finding it than the missing flight-19 itself.

Clue: Thirty three years after the war.   Something called Special List #44 was created by the Navy Historical Service the fore runner of the NHHC.  This list indicated what ship deck logs the agency had in storage at that time.  However when I read it, I was disappointed to learn that it only listed the Solomons logbook in inventory annotated everything up to May 1945.

When I inquired with the Navy they indicated that as far as they were aware the list was correct. The end of my search right? Not really. I kept digging.

I got lucky. I was clued into the second logbooks existence by a fellow researcher Jon Myhre who in an email mentioned he had received a copy of the Dec 5th deck log entries from the navy back in the early 1980’s for his book. Someone had had the logbook at one point!

So I had to re-inquire with my contacts at NHHC in Washington D.C. who passed me onto a specialist at NARA and voila!  E-mail confirmation of the logbook.

Now it’s 2016 and many deck log histories have been added to the collection since the 70’s. But Special list #44, really hasn’t changed. Why?  Well in my mind remember in 1978 it was a time before personal computers. Spreadsheets came off of big printers. It wasn’t an easy thing to make changes.  Excel hadn’t even been created yet. Typewriters were still the technology of the day and word processors were just starting to make it into the market.  It’s also a huge list and a lot of man hours would have to go into updating it.

So after all that, is it any wonder that I had such a hard time finding it?  I plan to eventually, hopefully sooner rather than later, visit college park and see it for myself.  Jon did warn me though that there really isn’t much to it. We’ll see.