Beware! Flight-19 Depth Perception will blow your mind! Alright, let me qualify that statement. If you are savvy and already familiar with the disappearance of the 1945 flight of missing Navy torpedo bombers than this book will make you re-evaluate and challenge all that you perceive as fact.

Though the author relies mainly on secondary sources in her prose, she deftly, but problematically measures there conclusions against the core piece of evidence available. Using the naval review board report from 1945 she both expounds on and contradicts conventional thought, simultaneously. This juxtaposing of timelines and witness accounts really challenges the reader to keep up.

However: the lack of professional editing and additional use of tertiary online sources like Wikipedia and Google is somewhat worrisome. The online articles often referred to by embedded hyperlinks are not properly cited. And though valid points, the reader is left to wander the article with only a hint of the connection to be made. Furthermore: the author’s style of writing the narrative in conjunction with the bibliography or source page does not fit any standard research model found in a traditionally published book..ie..AP, Chicago…etc.

In summation, as a piece of non-fiction, Flight-19 Depth Perception falls short of being a scholarly piece of writing. But the contents alone make it a book for any seasoned Flight-19 investigator. Certainly, as a refreshing take on an old subject, Michelle Lemburg and her OCD writing- her words not mine; in my opinion is undervalued at double the price and well worth the trouble to read.

Flight-19

Review of “Flight-19 Depth Perception” by Michelle Lemburg.

Image

 

The real story of Flight 19 by Steve MacGregor

The author Steve MacGregor sets out to outline his research into the mystery of the Flight-19 disappearance in a logical manner. He is quite successful at explaining the rudimentary timeline and his theory on the happenstance of both the TBM Avenger aircraft and one of the PBM rescue planes sent to find them.

However, in my humble opinion, the book falls short of being a true work of research for a few different reasons. Among other things, it does not contain an index of referenced materials & terms and therefore the reader cannot reference an alleged fact easily. And though there is a short bibliography it is not written in any set standard writing format such as AP or MLA…etc.

Furthermore; though it is a very succinct and simply detailed account of the event, including the subsequent paradoxes after the search and rescue there are a few elements missing from the timeline that the researcher should be aware of and a couple that I believe were overemphasized.

The reader should know that the author’s work is a short piece of approximately 110 pages and is meant as one volume in a series of writings about true-life mysteries.

To be fair, I skimmed the book in two hours looking for key elements to a well-authored piece and though I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the story, I sincerely suggest using it as a supplementary reading or as an introduction to a more in-depth analysis by most of the authors listed in the bibliography.

Flight-19

Review of “The Real Story of Flight-19”

Image

Image result for hitchhikersTo all my followers! Yes, all 8 of you. Here’s my conundrum. I will shortly be becoming a Grand father not once but twice in the next several months. Thank you, thank you!! I am as you can imagine very excited. But that’s not the problem. I need to get to Ft. Lauderdale to research aspects of topics for my book. I need to interview, one or two people, research files in at least one if not more museums and archives, and yet, like many people I cannot afford to do so, especially with the grand children on the way.  But I need to get to Ft. Lauderdale sooner rather than later.  I have been trying to get part-time work, with no luck and I can’t legitimize applying to ‘Go fund me’. In my mind there are so many more worth while charities I can’t imagine my need to get to Florida would top many people’s lists. I need your help to figure out how I get there.  Please help! Thank you.

Flight-19

Ft. Lauderdale or Bust!

Image

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.

3670030_2_orig.jpg

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)

 

(*http://www.navy.mil/navydata/nav_legacy.asp?id=172)

Flight-19

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

Image

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.

Untitled

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.

clip_image002 (1)

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 fivesides2@yahoo.com.

 

 

 

 

 

Flight-19

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

Can you identify this mount?

Image

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

http://www.ussindianapolis.org/mcvay.htm

http://www.jag.navy.mil/history.htm

http://www.secnav.navy.mil/ig/Pages/About%20Us/History.aspx

**https://www.history.navy.mil/research/library/online-reading-room/title-list-alphabetically/r/rocks-and-shoals-articles-for-the-government-of-the-us-navy.html

http://www.military.com/history/rear-admiral-charles-mcvay-iii.html

 

 

 

 

Flight-19

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

“Prior to 1946 there was no Navy JAG and in 1945 the Navy I.G was in its infancy.”

Image