Herman Arthur Thelander,
Seaman 1st class, USNR
Flight 19 crewman on FT-3
Herman Arthur Thelander was born in 1926, in Kinbrae, Minnesota. In the1930's there were 115 people residing in this town. As of the census of 2010, there were 12 people, 6 households, and 3 families.
Herman joined the United States Naval Reserve September 1, 1944. He transferred for training several times: from September to November 1944, he was stationed at NAS Jacksonville, Florida. Then from April to June 1945 at NAS Fort Lauderdale, training as a Gunner on the TBM/TBF Avenger torpedo bombers. From June to August 1945, he was transferred to NAS Miami, and then back to Fort Lauderdale.
On the fateful day of 5 December 1945 at NAS Fort Lauderdale, Herman (along with 13 other crewmen), was assigned to a training squadron of 5 Avenger aircraft that would be known as Flight 19. The squadron was to perform a routine navigation exercise, and mock bombing run over the Hen and Chickens shoals in the Bahamas, and then return to the NAS Fort Lauderdale. The planes never returned. Neither did a PBM Mariner rescue seaplane with 13 crewmen aboard, that was dispatched to search for their lost colleagues. In total, 6 aircraft and 27 men disappeared that afternoon.
A massive search was organized, and nothing was found. Their disappearance launched one of the largest air and sea searches in history, and began the legend of the Bermuda Triangle. To this date, Flight 19 remains one of the great aviation mysteries.
Herman Arthur Thelander was the Gunner on FT-3. The Radioman was Burt E. Baluk, S1c, USNR. The Pilot was Ensign Joseph Tipton Bossi, USNR. The Aircraft was a TBM-1C with BuNo 45714. Herman was 19 years old.
Flight 19 Project Research by Matthew J. Bloom,
Curated by Benjamin Walter-Range & Minerva Bloom