On December 5, 1945, five U.S. Navy TBM Avenger torpedo bombers flew over the waters of the Bermuda Triangle in a routine training exercise. This squadron, Flight 19, took off from Ft. Lauderdale Naval Air Station (NAS) for a three-hour mission off the east coast of Florida.
As they left, no one realized it would be the last anyone saw of those planes and men. 75 years ago, they just vanished.
Though they weren’t technically a patrol, popular culture has dubbed the vanishing squadron “The Lost Patrol.”
The Final Flight
The training exercise began when Flight 19 left Fort Lauderdale Navy Air Station (NAS) at 2:10 p.m. The students were led by US Navy Lieutenant Charles Carroll Taylor, a seasoned flier who had around 2,500 hours of flight time and had completed a combat tour during World War II.
On the first leg of their journey, the five TBMs reached Hens and Chicken Shoals, an island about 60 miles east of the Florida Coast. There, they dropped practice bombs as planned and continued east a ways before banking to the north. That’s when things started to get strange.
Read the full story in your December 4th Times-Record Weekend Edition. Purchase your paper copy of today’s paper at the TR office (146 3rd St NE, Valley City), local gas stations and grocery stores or an electronic copy by clicking subscribe in the top left corner of the www.times-online.com home page.