The Pacific Ocean Gives Up Another TBM

Any mention of TBM Avenger torpedo-bombers from WW2 catch my eye.

My dad was a radioman/tailgunner on one of these in 1943-45. His plane made its take-offs and landings on CVEs like the USS Wake Island. Perhaps his plane, and certainly many others, survived the war and saw service elsewhere, later. Future President George H.W. Bush flew one of these, too.  I have sketched this plane in countless school notebooks, built the Revell plastic model, and run my hands over a similar plane at an airshow. The bombsight Dad brought home now sits in my top desk drawer.

So, I had to share the story of yet another long-lost warplane that has just been discovered.

This one sits in a lagoon near the embattled Palau archipelago. Maybe someone’s sons, or brothers, or husbands, too.

When my dad mustered out in October 1945, the War Department paid him $73.92.

These men saved the world. These planes carried them, and really, all of us.

It is remarkable to me that intrepid people and amazing technology are still finding the missing planes and warriors of the Second World War. But every story like this should remind us how dear was the price of victory.

While some people want to marginalize their fight or apologize for their triumph over evil, I’d argue that no one can afford to. We couldn’t begin to buy, today, what they gave us, then.

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