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The Grumman Avenger torpedo bombers built for the Navy originally carried the designation of TBF. The Avenger came into service in 1942 to replace the Douglas Devastator, but in its first combat at Midway in June 1942, it fared badly. Five out of six were shot down during an unescorted attack on Japanese ships.

Grumman built 2,291 Avengers but stopped producing them in 1943 to concentrate on fighter aircraft production. Beginning in late 1942, the Eastern Division of General Motors, under a wartime contract with Grumman, built 550 aircraft similar to the Grumman models, but designated as the TBM. General Motors then built 3,757 of the TBM-3 variants with added armor, wing guns and radar. In total, almost 9,900 Avengers were built for the Navy, Marine Corps and Allied navies. The TBM-3 could carry a 2,000-pound torpedo or 2,500 pounds of bombs.

Throughout the war, Avengers played a key role in sinking many Japanese warships in the Pacific and in protecting supply convoys from German submarines in the Atlantic Ocean while serving aboard escort carriers. Avengers could launch off the shortened decks of escort and light carriers. The Avenger had good range due to an internal fuel capacity of 325 gallons and a consumption of 75 gallons per hour.

On September 2nd, 1944, President George H.W. Bush was shot down while flying an Avenger during a bombing mission against Japanese positions on Chichi Jima. He successfully parachuted and was picked up just off the coast by an American submarine. This Avenger (TBM-3E) carries the insignia of VC-65, the squadron serving on the escort Carrier Midway (CVE-62) in 1944. The Midway participated in the Saipan invasion and the Battle of the Philippine Sea. The ship was renamed the St. Lo on October 10th, 1944, and was the first major warship sunk by a kamikaze attack.

The National Museum of WW II Aviation features WWII-era veterans!!

SUNDAY AUGUST 16TH

There are few WWII-era veterans left, and the National Museum of World War II Aviation is providing an opportunity for the community to meet-and-greet some of these honored WWII veterans.

Sunday, August 16, 2020 - 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The National Museum of World War II Aviation
775 Aviation Way, Colorado Springs, 80916

Scheduled to appear are:
Ed Beck—Army POW captured during the Battle of the Bulge who escaped from captivity.
Marilyn Doenges—Army nurse who served in the UK and Northern France
JJ Inman—P-51 pilot who flew missions in China
Noe Romero—Served on the U.S.S Yorktown at the Battle of Midway
Bill Roche—B-17 waist gunner who was shot down by German aircraft twice.
Cole “Junior” Griego—U.S. Navy Medic in the Battle of Iwo Jima

Advance admission purchases are advised for this event because advance ticket holders will be given priority to enter the museum. Appropriate social distancing and face masks will be required and strictly enforced.**

Historic note: 75 years ago on August 14, 1945 the Japanese surrendered, and hostilities in WWII ceased. The formal surrender of Japanese forces was signed Sept. 2, 1945.