By Joe Toppe
August 29, 2013
My wife leaned forward and pushed me to go on with the story, and so I took a deep breath and continued.
Wing to wing we crossed over the shoreline and a city sprawl of what vaguely resembled Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.
What was once covered in trees was now blanketed in asphalt, and what were once acres of sparse housing was now entangled in winding roadways.
Just then, my radio exploded with a voice that demanded we identify ourselves, but before I could reply, two sleek looking aircraft shot by at an air speed I had never seen before and with a sound as loud as thunder.
At the command of the voice on the radio, we were escorted to a runway by the rocket-like aircraft patrolling our every move, and as we landed, dozens of soldiers, emergency vehicles and government officials swarmed our aircraft.
My entire flight was taken into custody, and as the flight leader, I was taken into a separate room and questioned.
By this time, I was in disbelief. Where were we? When were we?
This was clearly Florida and the men and women in uniform were clearly Americans, but we were surrounded by a foreign and sophisticated technology, and the city I left was half this size in both scale and architecture.
I screamed at my questioners, “What is going on! We are American servicemen conducting an exercise and we have done nothing wrong! Why have you detained us and what has happened to this place!”
The men said nothing to me and only exchanged whispers with one another as I squirmed nervously from a seated position.
I asked for a cigarette, and after sometime, I began to calm and was able to conduct a civil interview.
“Explain your flight. Where did you get these old planes, and where did you come from?” my uniformed captor questioned.
“My name is Lt. Charles Carroll Taylor,” I confidently replied. “I am a flight instructor stationed in Florida, and I was leading a navigation and combat training exercise called ‘Navigation problem No. 1’.
“Not long after our flight began, we became lost, entered a storm, and ended up here.”
The men sitting across from me never moved and remained motionless as I explained.
“What is the name of your flight,” asked one of them.
As I replied, the entire room gasped, looked at one another in disbelief and abruptly left the room.
They returned with medical professionals and other distinguished scientists of varying disciplines.
I was given a complete physical and a variety of strange examinations that I can only assume the rest of the flight were subjected to as well.
We were to be thoroughly investigated, and from the open window, I could see men in white, inspecting our aircraft out on the tarmac.
Several weeks elapsed in much the same way with frequent physical examinations and frequent discussions on our flight, our experiences during the flight and our place in time.
All the while, these men never revealed the true nature of our situation, and, looking back, I am unsure if I could have handled the truth without a substantial passage of time to soften the blow.
And so, I was not surprised the morning the man in uniform entered my room to disclose the truth.
He told me that 67 years had elapsed since our flight had taken off for a routine training mission and we had been reported missing, assumed dead, and a mystery of the Bermuda Triangle.
“But we are not a mystery,” I yelled. “We are right here, right now.”
The man leveled his eyes and plowed them directly into mine and said,
“And that is the mystery of it all.”