Flying the Avenger!

Presenting the U.S. Navy training film that instructed Navy pilots how to fly the Grumman TBF/TBM “Avenger.” This type of aircraft was flown by President George H.W. Bush in World War II, earning him the Distinguished Flying Medal and multiple Air Medals. Grumman named this new torpedo-bomber “Avenger” after the Japanese attacks on Pearl Harbor. Its first engagement with the enemy was at the Battle of Midway, were five of six Grumman TBF-1 Avengers assigned to Torpedo Squadron (VT) 8 were shot down. The Avenger, the largest and heaviest single-engine aircraft of WWII, was the first American aircraft to incorporate a power-operated gun turret, first to carry the have 22-inch torpedo and would become the Navy’s standard torpedo bomber throughout the war. It would serve in other roles as well, including glide bombing, close air support, reconnaissance, and light transport. In all, 9,837 Avengers were built. Grumman would produce 2,291 and given the “TBF” designation. At the same time, 7,546 would be turned out by General Motors Eastern Aircraft Division and designated “TBMs.” The Avenger would be flown not only by U.S. forces, but Great Britain and New Zealand received 921 of the aircraft. In keeping with their naming of torpedo planes for fish, the British named the TBF/TBM the “Tarpon.”

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