Freedom Fighter: Billy Tomlin - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

06/30/06-Tyler

Freedom Fighter: Billy Tomlin

As a Navy Combat Crewman, Billy Tomlin was involved in one of the most enduring mysteries of World War Two, the disappearance of Flight Nineteen over the Bermuda Triangle. Tomlin was assigned to Air and Sea Rescue at Banana River Naval Station in Florida when Flight Nineteen disappeared on a routine flight December 5,1945.

The five Avenger Torpedo Bombers had lifted into the air from Fort Lauderdale that morning on what was supposed to be a routine practice mission. After their initial check-in, they were never heard from again. A Martin Mariner, sent out early to find them, also disappeared, giving birth to "The Legend Of The Bermuda Triangle".

Tomlin launched a massive air and sea rescue search the next morning but could find no trace of he missing planes, and no trace has ever been found since that time.

The strange disappearance has given fuel to all sorts of theories including extraterrestrial visitors, black holes and time warps. These theories have been kept alive because of stories of near crashes in the Bermuda Triangle stemming from spinning compasses, sudden strange fogs, and flashing colored lights.

Tomlin was discharged from the Navy in 1946 and after marriage became an Episcopal Priest. In 1984 he helped restore a Confederate Air force PBY and was supposed to go on its' maiden flight. He drew a short straw and someone else went in his place. The plane crashed on the Texas coast killing six aboard. It was another unexplained mystery in Billy Tomlin's life.

Reported By: Joan Hallmark, joanhallmark@kltv.com

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