Radioman with FT-28 - Flight 19
On this Veterans Day, November 11, 2013, we would like to honor the memory of Walter Reed Parpart, Jr., who on December 5, 1945 disappeared while on a flight training exercise in the area of the Bermuda Triangle. Walter was part of Flight 19 (also known as The Lost Patrol), a Squadron of 5 TBM/TBF Avengers that vanished without a trace. The squadron's flight plan was scheduled to take them due east from Naval Air Station Fort Lauderdale for 141 miles, north for 73 miles, and then back over a final 140-mile leg to complete the exercise. The flight never returned to base. The disappearance was attributed by Navy investigators to navigational error leading to the aircraft running out of fuel, however the "Mystery of flight 19" still remains one of the great aviation mysteries, as nobody really knows what happened.
Walter Reed Parpart, Jr., was the radioman in FT-28, piloted by Flight Leader, Lt. Charles Taylor. There was no known photograph of Walter, and there are no original artifacts known to the public that relate directly to Flight 19. Until now, when one of Walter's relatives contacted the Museum to tell us her story:
Oct 24, 2013
From: Maureen Campbell Clark, Manchester, N. J.
To: Naval Air Station Fort Lauderdale Museum
"As per our telephone conversation, my mother Dorothy Campbell was married to Walter Reed Parpart, Sr. (1959-1963). Young Walter was an only child. He so wanted to join the navy he pleaded with his dad to sign him in at age 17. His mother was American of Irish heritage (McMahon) and his father's family was from Newburgh, NY. of Basque heritage. After the tragedy as years passed his mother drifted into a deep depression and blamed his dad for her loss until her passing... His father seemed to accept the black hole, weather anomaly theory. I believe his brief marriage to my mother prior to his passing was brief but joyful. The seven photos processed very well and have two with Walter Parpart, Jr in dress whites. There is no mistaking him as he is the image of his dad. Perhaps you can identify his buddies. There are letters from Mrs. Katherine Taylor and a Mr. Gorman, explaining his weather anomaly, black hole theory. I noticed the House Resolution 500 (Congressional Record) failed to include Walter's last name. Has that been corrected? I hope so. I will be forwarding all to you as soon as my nephew Kenneth Campbell who alerted me to this web site, comes this week."
for the Naval Air Station Fort Lauderdale Museum
Walter R. Parpart, Jr., Aviators Flight Log Book
& Presidential Citation Hand-signed by Harry Truman
- Correspondence from Katherine Taylor, mother of Lt. Charles Taylor the Squadron's leader, to the mother of Walter R. Parpart, Jr., radioman on F-28. Dated November 25,1946.
- From Katherine Taylor to Mrs. Parpart. Dated December 18,1950.
- From Katherine Taylor to Mr. J. W. Prince, a treasure hunter in Florida. Dated November 7, 1950.
- Letter from Mr. Prince in response to Mrs. Taylor's request. Undated.
- Letter to Mr. Walter Parpart, Sr., by Neal Gorman, explaining his theory, and the then new science of Hurricane and Storm tracking. Dated December 26, 1947.