Wednesday, December 5, 2018

December 5th...This Day in History (Aircraft squadron lost in the Bermuda Triangle + Prohibition Ends + others)

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Aircraft squadron lost in the Bermuda Triangle 1945


At 2:10 p.m., five U.S. Navy Avenger torpedo-bombers comprising Flight 19 take off from the Ft. Lauderdale Naval Air Station in Florida on a routine three-hour training mission. Flight 19 was scheduled to take them due east for 120 miles, north for 73 miles, and then back over a final 120-mile leg that would return them to the naval base. They never returned.

Two hours after the flight began, the leader of the squadron, who had been flying in the area for more than six months, reported that his compass and back-up compass had failed and that his position was unknown. The other planes experienced similar instrument malfunctions. Radio facilities on land were contacted to find the location of the lost squadron, but none were successful. After two more hours of confused messages from the fliers, a distorted radio transmission from the squadron leader was heard at 6:20 p.m., apparently calling for his men to prepare to ditch their aircraft simultaneously because of lack of fuel.

By this time, several land radar stations finally determined that Flight 19 was somewhere north of the Bahamas and east of the Florida coast, and at 7:27 p.m. a search and rescue Mariner aircraft took off with a 13-man crew. Three minutes later, the Mariner aircraft radioed to its home base that its mission was underway. The Mariner was never heard from again. Later, there was a report from a tanker cruising off the coast of Florida of a visible explosion seen at 7:50 p.m.

The disappearance of the 14 men of Flight 19 and the 13 men of the Mariner led to one of the largest air and seas searches to that date, and hundreds of ships and aircraft combed thousands of square miles of the Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, and remote locations within the interior of Florida. No trace of the bodies or aircraft was ever found.

Although naval officials maintained that the remains of the six aircraft and 27 men were not found because stormy weather destroyed the evidence, the story of the “Lost Squadron” helped cement the legend of the Bermuda Triangle, an area of the Atlantic Ocean where ships and aircraft are said to disappear without a trace. The Bermuda Triangle is said to stretch from the southern U.S. coast across to Bermuda and down to the Atlantic coast of Cuba and Santo Domingo.

(More Events on This Day in History) 

GENERAL INTEREST
1933
Prohibition ends
The 21st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is ratified, repealing the 18th Amendment and bringing an end to the era of national prohibition of alcohol in America. At 5:32 p.m. EST, Utah became the 36th state to ratify the amendment, achieving the requisite three-fourths majority ...

VIETNAM WAR
1970
North Vietnam announces it will not be intimidated by U.S. bombing
A North Vietnamese newspaper declares that the country will not be intimidated by U.S. bombing threats. Earlier in the week, U.S. Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird had warned that the U.S. would initiate new bombing raids on North Vietnam if the communists continued to fire on ...

VIETNAM WAR
1964
Army Captain awarded first Medal of Honor for action in Vietnam
The first Medal of Honor awarded to a U.S. serviceman for action in Vietnam is presented to Capt. Roger Donlon of Saugerties, New York, for his heroic action earlier in the year. Captain Donlon and his Special Forces team were manning Camp Nam Dong, a mountain outpost near the ...

SPORTS
2002
Roone Arledge dies
On December 5, 2002, the legendary television producer and executive Roone Arledge dies in New York City, at the age of 71. Born in Forest Hills, Queens, Arledge won his first producing job from New York’s Channel 4, where he worked behind the scenes on a puppet show starring ...

PRESIDENTIAL
1782
Van Buren is born
On this day in 1782, Martin Van Buren, America’s 8th president, is born in Kinderhook, New York, to Dutch parents. He left grammar school with his sights set on studying law and pursuing a career in politics. Van Buren married one of his Dutch cousins, Hannah Hoes, in 1807. The ...

OLD WEST
1871
Rodeo star Bill Pickett born in Texas
On this day, the great steer wrestling rodeo star Bill Pickett is born near Austin, Texas. The son of black and Indian parents, Pickett learned his roping and riding skills working as a cowboy on a Texas ranch. He attracted the attention of the Miller brothers, who ran the 101 ...

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