Captain Chaos is a biography of an old World War II veteran that the author and his wife personally knew. Warner William Tyler was a Denver native, a young U.S. naval aviator, a veteran of the Pacific Theater, a successful Colorado businessman, and in later years a high-ranking leader in the Denver-area U.S. Naval Reserve Intelligence Program. Moreover, this book is also a "biography" of Ensign Tyler's Torpedo Squadron Nineteen as well as U.S. Navy Carrier Air Group Nineteen, flying and fighting daily off the aircraft carrier USS Lexington during July through November 1944.
Air Group-19, justifiably famous for its performance in the great sea battle of Leyte Gulf, actually spent the majority of its tour onboard the Lexington-about four months-attacking Japanese ground targets. These included places like the Philippine Islands (Mindinao, Cebu, Manila, Luzon) as well as Guam, the Palau Islands, the Bonin Islands, and Formosa. Rather than torpedoes, Ensign Tyler often carried bombs (and sometimes even naval mines) in these attacks, which were all heavily defended by ferocious Japanese anti-aircraft fire.
And, during this time the Lexington and her Air Group did indeed fight, and fight spectacularly, at the Battle for Leyte Gulf on 25 October. Leyte was arguably the largest naval battle there ever was-or ever will be.Mr. Tyler received a Navy Cross (second only to the Medal of Honor) for an aggressive attack in his TBM Avenger torpedo plane. In the face of staggering anti-aircraft fire he launched an aerial torpedo against the Japanese hybrid battleship Ise. After the war ended Tyler left active duty and came back to the Denver area; there he lived the post-war dream with a beautiful wife and family, a successful business, and continued service to his country in the Naval Reserve-sharing that passion and dedication that sustained him through those battles of 1944.
Many people were certainly beneficiaries of his unique leadership style and his amazing sense of humor. He reached the rank of Captain and stood as a great exemplar for young sailors-one of whom was the author.