BG man was gunner on Avenger PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sentinel-Tribune Staff   
Saturday, 21 September 2013 08:14
Bill Brigman in his 1947 Ford DeLuxe in front of a TBM Avenger at Saturday’s air show at Wood County Regional Airport. (Photo by Todd Hackbarth)
When rural Bowling Green resident Bill Brigman headed for the Wood County Air Fair Sept. 15 he had no idea he would see, let alone sit in a TBM Avenger similar to one he spent time in as a gunner during World War II.
Brigman, who will be 91 in October, said he did a double-take when he looked across the airfield and saw the plane among those gathered for the event.
The owner of the Avenger, Charlie Cartledge of Orrville, was just as glad to see Brigman. "He told me he was thrilled to meet someone who actually flew in one. He told me he has spent 13 years restoring the plane," Brigman said. The plane is based at the Port Clinton airport.
The Avenger, which was a single-engine torpedo bomber, had a three-man crew, a pilot, a gunner-radio-navigator and another gunner. The plane made its debut on a limited basis in the Battle of Midway in June 1942, but became a workhorse during the war and remained in the Navy's arsenal until about 1960.
The Avenger was developed with folding wings to help make room for more planes on aircraft carriers.
After talking with Cartledge for a while, Brigman asked if he could park his 1947 Ford DeLuxe convertible in front of the plane and have his picture taken. Brigman said Cartledge got permission to "park the car there as long as I wanted."
Brigman was stationed on the USS Lungapoint, a "baby aircraft carrier" named after a promontory on Guadalcanal. He said the Lungapoint was about half the size of the USS Yorktown.
In later life Brigman and his wife Mary, who died in 2012, made visits to 15 World War II ships, many of which are now museums.

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