Grumman TBF-1C Poster Copyright © Matthew Yee.
, a graphic designer with over 16 years experience in the industry and a longtime war-bird fan, has been recently working with aircraft illustrations-- which has been a field he has been longing for. Instead of traditional medium such as oil painting and watercolor, Mathew does his illustrations with computer graphics. When he creates his illustrations, he researches and studies the developments of each aircraft and the history associated with it. The TBF Avenger
has been always one of Matthew's favorite aircraft. When he was doing the above TBF Avenger illustration, Matthew found our website and was deeply moved by Loyce Deen's story
. He decided to do his Avenger illustration with Loycee Deen's plane. With Gregg Mastriforte's support (the creator of Loyce Deen Tribute page http://www.loyceedeen.org
), Matthew was able to get in touch with Mr. Michael Cosgrove's (son of Lt. Robert Cosgrove who was the pilot of Deen's TBF); and also with Berth's (niece of Loyce Deen), and got their support for using photos of the crew on his artwork.
Besides this TBF artwork, Matthew also has a P-51D Mustang (with George Preddy's Cripes A' Mighty marking), and the work in progress of a P-38J (with Richard Bong's marking). If you would like to purchase or see more of his work visit him on facebook. You can find Matthew Yee's artwork at Facebook by searching keyword: iworxhop, or check his official website to see more of his works: http://www.iworxhop.com
Matthew YeeiWORXHOP Design Studio, LLC
(847) 942-1627E-mail contact
Flight 19's Navigation exercise and "final position" on 5 Dec, 1945.
We were asked a great question from a reader in California, who is planning an expedition to the NE coast of Florida, in the hopes of finding Flight 19.
His question was:"What were the Navigational Problems that an Avenger flier had to solve/complete in order to graduate at the Naval Air Station Fort Lauderdale?
He mentioned that he knew of Navigational Problem #1,
from the excerpts at the U.S Naval Inquiry on Flight 19, but didn't know the rest of the Navigational Problems a pilot had to tackle through the aviation course at NASFL.Here are our findings:
each Ensign (cadet) became a TBM/TBF Avenger
torpedo bomber pilot, when he completed the following:
- Bombing flights.
- Navigation flights over the water.
- Formation flying.
- Gunnery runs on a towed sleeve.
- Night flying.
Flight 19 was composed of a Flight Instructor, four Naval Aviators undergoing VTB-type advanced training and nine enlisted aircrewmen who, with the exception of one, were all undergoing advanced combat aircrew training in VTB-type aircraft at NAS Fort Lauderdale.The Overwater Navigation Problems on 5 December 1945 were the following:
NAVIGATION PROBLEM # I091 degrees...........123 Nautical Miles (NM)346........................73 NM241......................120 NMNAVIGATION PROBLEM # II132 degrees...........123 Nautical Miles (NM)025........................ 76 NM281........................ 67 NM271........................ 56 NMNAVIGATION PROBLEM # III074 degrees...........129 NM140........................ 59 NM275........................161 NMNAVIGATION PROBLEM # IV091 degrees........... 56 NM063........................ 77 NM221........................108 NM312......................... 73 NMAbove course degrees reference to true north; above distances are in nautical miles.Flight 19 - "Navigation Problem #1":
That the organized over water navigation training flight exercise
assigned to Flight 19 on 5 December 1945 was Naval Air Station, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, navigation problem No. 1 is as follows; (1) depart 26 degrees 03 minutes north and 80 degrees 07 minutes west and fly 091 degrees (T) distance 56 miles to Hen and Chickens Shoals to conduct low level bombing
, after bombing continue on course 091 degrees (T) for 67 miles, (2) fly course 346 degrees (T) distance 73 miles and (3) fly course 241 degrees (T) distance 120 miles, then returning to U.S. Naval Air Station, Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Click to enlarge and read descriptions.
Aerial of NAS Fort Lauderdale (looking west), with TBM/TBF Avengers in Flight, 1945. Copyright © NAS Fort Lauderdale Museum.
Avenger torpedo bombers
were used very effectively during World War II. They could carry either one standard torpedo or a one-ton bomb. They could operate from an airfield or from an aircraft carrier and were used effectively against enemy warships. They carried a three-man crew consisting of a pilot, a gunner, and a radioman.
Originally conceived as an adjunct to NAS Miami, The Naval Air Station Fort Lauderdale (NASFL or NAS Fort Lauderdale) soon became an independent base for operations training specializing in TBM/TBF Avenger torpedo bombers, as part of the Naval Air Operational Training Command.
TBM/TBF Avenger pilot training was taught among other degrees (Radiomen, Machinist's Mates and Ordnancemen), along with radar and fire control operator training. Also the Naval Air Station Boat Facility, the Fort Lauderdale Navy Section Base, and the Fort Lauderdale Coast Guard Station located at Port Everglades were established and/or worked in conjunction with this base.
These units were instrumental in providing practical target bombing practice as well as air and sea rescue operations and retrieving of torpedoes. For example, the USS Absicon was a decoy ship that served in training and the USS Asheville (both operating from Port Everglades) tested experimental weapons for the NASFL.Training of Avenger Pilots:
An Ensign (cadet) was eligible to train at this Operational Training school, until he had completed Primary, then Intermediate courses at other schools. Pilots were paired up with gunner and radioman at NAS Fort Lauderdale, and went through a 45 day training period, then they went to "action"
as a team. The training was completed in about 8 to 12 weeks. Each week a new training squadron began, therefore there were 9 to 10 squadrons in training at a time. NAS Fort Lauderdale also had Beechcraft SNB-1 twin engine bomber trainers, and Boeing-Stearman N2S-5 biplane trainers. The teachings and indoctrination for Avenger pilots included the following:
The would be Pilot had to complete the following navigational problems, in order to graduate:
- Familiarizing Ensign cadets with the specialized Avenger aircraft, its technical aspect and special techniques.
- Ground School included instruction in navigation. Such as exercises with the Link Trainer Flight Simulator.
- Flight experience with landings and take-offs.
- After a few landings and take-offs, to fly solo.
Click to enlarge and read descriptions
- Bombing flights.
- Navigation flights over the water.
- Formation flying.
- Gunnery runs on a towed sleeve.
- Night flying.
Copyright © NAS Fort Lauderdale Museum
TBM Avengers lined up on the Tarmac. NAS Fort Lauderdale, 1940's
A Specialty School for the TBM/TBF Avenger Aircraft at NASFL:
The Naval Air Station Fort Lauderdale was established as a specialty school to train Pilots and Aircrewmen for the Avenger torpedo-bomber airplanes. The crewmen, in addition to being gunners, were Radiomen, Machinist's Mates and Ordnancemen. A pilot and two gunners in a naval torpedo plane were the usual crew.The station's main job was to train for aerial combat, but no airplanes would fly, torpedoes and bombs be dropped or machine guns fired if medical, supply, instructional, clerical, cleaning, maintenance, or transportation services were to break down. Efficiency would have suffered without proper food, adequate welfare and recreational facilities. Thus every member of the station's personnel, no matter what the job, was on the same team.
By the end of the war, NASFL was a complex of more than 200 buildings.
Since then, the vast complex of buildings that housed the air base have been all demolished. All except for one: the Link Trainer Building #8 - our current Museum.
With the help of many volunteers, this Museum has been instrumental in preserving the memory of Flight 19 - The Lost Patrol
, one of the great aviation mysteries. Flight 19 flew out of NASFL on December 5th, 1945 to vanish into the Bermuda Triangle. In addition, a 19 year old future US President George H.W. Bush lived at NASFL as a young Ensign to train as a torpedo/bomber pilot
Copyright © NAS Fort Lauderdale Museum
Lou Grab - VT-51
Lou Grab lived at NAS Fort Lauderdale to train as an Avenger pilot in 1943. He is a friend of former President George Bush, who also lived at NASFL. They both trained with Senior Instructor Lt. Thomas "Tex" Ellison as part of Flight #44. Lt. Ellison was the uncle of former Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jim Naugle. Ellison had just returned from combat in the Pacific theater when he was commissioned as an experienced Instructor at NAS Fort Lauderdale. When Bush and Grab completed their training they went onto the USS San Jacinto as part of Air Group 51 (VT-51). Memories of Naval Air Station Fort Lauderdale and Flight #44 By Lou GrabThe final weeks of training at NAS Corpus Christi were filled with great expectations. Graduation
day and winning those wings of gold was just around the corner. Officer uniforms (Greens, Whites, Blues, and Khakis) had to be ordered. Orders to transfer to our next base were being prepared, and we wondered about getting the duty location each of us had requested. All of our final check flights and ground school had to be successful. Then on June 9, 1943, I became an Ensign, and received orders to operational training at Naval Air Station Fort Lauderdale.
Fort Lauderdale and Flight #44 with Instructor Tex Ellison, lasted about two months. The transformation from cadet life to officer for a young 20-year old was probably like going from the minor leagues to the majors. Eating meals in a B.O.Q. (Bachelor Officer Quarters), returning salutes, learning to fly a new operational torpedo bomber, being responsible for crew men, and knowing how lucky it was being a Naval Aviator was a real high.Tex Ellison was great. He took us from flying SNJs at Corpus Christi to flying TBFs. After being checked out in the cockpit-- Ensign in the seat and Ellison standing on the wing and having had relevant ground school information, the Ensign flew his first TBF flight solo.
Lou Grab on back row 6th from right. George Bush is next to him to his left.
After a few landings and take-offs, the flight experiences expanded to include bombing flights over Lake Okeechobee, navigation flights over the water, formation flying, gunnery runs on a towed sleeve, and night flying. All orchestrated by Tex Ellison.
A tragedy occurred, which shocked all of us in Flight 44. We had all gone through the ground school pressure chamber to experience high altitude air and the necessary use of oxygen. Flights to 20,000 feet were a required follow-up to learn much about the different ways the Avenger flew at higher altitudes. We lost a crewman from lack of oxygen...
Ground school included instruction in navigation. This was extensive and paid off in the Pacific. Survival skill training was also emphasized. All of the things we worked on at Corpus were repeated and were related to the TBF Avenger. Navigation in a TBF-- survival as it related to the TBF, focused on carrier based operations.
The beach at Fort Lauderdale was great swimming. Water six feet deep was long ways from shore. Two months in Flight 44 went by real fast. We had to leave NASFL. From Ft. Lauderdale we had an all night train trip to Chicago and the Great Lakes Naval Air Station. First, we had field carrier landing practice. Then, we flew out to the USS Sable to make five landings in daylight. The final experience was two night landings on the Sable. After my first landing, deck crew rolled the TBF back to the stern. Then I got signals to hold brakes and go to full throttle for a take off. I attempted to take off, but found myself stopped at the bow at full throttle. The tailhook had fallen out and latched onto an arresting cable. I was lucky again. I redid the take off, made landing number two, and flew back to the NAS at Glenview.
Lou Grab: 3 row from top, 3rd from right. George Bush, next to him 2nd from right.
After Glenview, one great experience after another took place. I got a leave of about two weeks, which allowed time to go home to Sacramento prior to reporting in to NAS Norfolk. At Norfolk, Air Group 51 was formed, and we learned we would be on the USS San Jacinto. The Torpedo Squadron 51 training location became NAS Chincotegue. While at Chincotegue, the squadron made trips to the Commissioning of the USS San Jacinto, and to Hyannis to drop torpedoes. Eventually, we went aboard the ship at Norfolk and sailed to Trinidad and back to Norfolk on a shake down cruise.
From Norfolk, it was a ready ship and air group which sailed through the Canal, up to San Diego, and on out to Pearl Harbor and the Pacific Theatre. So many people invested themselves in the war effort, in hundreds of meaningful ways. I was lucky to do it my way.
WWII NAS Fort Lauderdale Aircraft Paint Schemes
Used throughout the life at the Naval Air Station Fort Lauderdale.
This Naval Air Station was a Specialty School
on the Avenger Torpedo Bomber Aircraft. The following Paint Schemes
were used during the base's operational history. Pilots were paired up with gunner and radioman at NAS Fort Lauderdale, and went through a 45 day training period, then they went to "action" as a team. Each week a new training squadron began, therefore there were 9 to 10 squadrons in training at a time. NAS Fort Lauderdale also had Beechcraft SNB-1 twin engine bomber trainers, and Boeing-Stearman N2S-5 biplane trainers.
Click on each image to zoom and read descriptions. Images of model aircraft and drawings provided by the co-founder of the Naval Air Station Fort Lauderdale Historical Association (NASFLHA), Ben Langley.
- Image 1: Fox Juliet 9 OS2U Kingfisher with wheels rather than pontoons. Used for flying high above training and spotting for Bomb/Torpedo hits on targets.
- Image 2: NAS Fort Lauderdale WING TOPS on the Avengers.
- Image 3: TBF-1 Fox Tare-43. Late 1942 - Early 1943. Painted non-specular sea blue over non-specular light gray with a wavy line per Bur Regs. Oct 13, 1941. National insignia 24" high on fuselage with national insignia on all 4 wings positions. 12" high letters and numbers. FT-43 was widely photographed for publicity as T-43, it is unknown if F- was censored off or not applied yet.
- Image 4: Drawing of TBF-1 Fox Tare-43. Late 1942 - Early 1943.
- Image 5: SB2C-1 Fox Baker Tare-5, 1943. The Helldiver or "Beast" as it was affectionately known. Painted non-specular sea blue over non-specular intermediate blue over non-specular white as per Bur Regs. Feb 1, 1943. White rectangles on National Insignia. 12" letters and numbers. FBT-5 was used for dive bombing pictures for publicity. Helldivers trained at NAS Fort Lauderdale for short time.
- Image 6: TBF-1 Fox Tare 35, 1943. Painted non-specular sea blue over non-specular intermediate blue over non-specular white, per Bur Regs. Feb 1, 1943. White rectangles added to the national insignia June 28, 1943, also national insignia on upper left and lower right wing positions. Letters and numbers were 12" high, with letters over numbers to make room for the white insignia rectangles. Letters: first letter for base, second for squad purpose. ie: FT was for Fort Lauderdale - Torpedo, followed by the aircraft number. FBT - Fort Lauderdale-Bomber-Torpedo. & small number on cowling.
- Image 7: Drawing of a TBF-1 Fox Tare 25, 1943.
- Image 8: TBM-3 Fox Tare 28. Ser #23307, 1945. Painted overall glossy sea blue per Bur Regs. March 22, 1944, most were faded flat in hot Florida sun. White rectangles on national insignia. Letters and numbers were 24" high with letters on fuselage and numbers on rudder. In March, 1945 the prop hubs were painted flat black. This "Turkey" was an Instructor's aircraft and flown by Lt. Charles Taylor on December 5, 1945 as leader of Flight 19.
- Image 9: Drawing of TBM-3 Fox Tare 28. Ser #23307, 1945.
As we're slowly going through our warehouse at the Airport where we have in storage many boxes and containers of memorabilia, we came about a container with parts of a WWII Avenger's wreckage that was discovered in the Everglades grassland. In 1989, Allan McElhiney and Frank Hill were brought deep into the Everglades to investigate a TBM Avenger crash site which was revealed from the grass after a fire. They thought that perhaps it was part of the Flight 19
squadron. It was determined it was not, as the serial numbers on a visible plate didn't match. However, it was a plane from the Naval Air Station Fort Lauderdale (NASFL). The parts from this wreckage will be on exhibit at the NASFL Museum.
Malcolm Barker USN WWII sent several great pics he took of TBM bureau number 85828 NL 81865. It is a Grumman TBM-3E shot at the 2009 Stearman fly-in, at Galesburg Illinois. From 100 to 200 Stearmans fly-in the week after Labor Day each year.
Click on image to see it larger.
The image below is of a B-17 that visited the old Air Force base near Nashville, Tennessee last year. Mr. Barker Met a former pilot there who flew 30 some missions over Germany in B-17's.
Bob Murphy on his TBM-3
TBM-3 will fly in for the next Dec 5th Flight 19 Memorial Ceremony
Mr. Bob Murphy flew into Boca Raton and then rented a car and drove to the Museum on Friday, Jan. 28. He owns a TBM-3 torpedo bomber. He’s pretty sure that he will fly this plane here for the December 5th Flight 19 Memorial Ceremony for which he would like to do a flyover. His TBM-3 will be parked at National Jets. Great to meet you Bob!
Nose Art from an Avenger airplane.
The information for this particular design came from Johnny Signor, who is an avid unit emblem researcher. He studies WW-2 era flying unit emblems of the USN/USMC and USAAF. He is also a leather unit patchmaker of same. He contacted us with this information. Thank you Johnny! To read on the Origins of Nose Art and see some examples and links click here.