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  SBD-3 Dauntless Bureau Number 03309 Tail S18
USS Enterprise

Aircraft History
Built by Douglas at El Segundo. Constructors Number 1129. Delivered to the U. S. Navy (USN) as SBD-3 Dauntless bureau number 03309.

Wartime History
Assigned to USS Enterprise to squadron VS-5. This aircraft had no known nickname, tail number S18.

Mission History
On August 7, 1942 took off from USS Enterprise piloted by Ens. Robert C. Shaw and gunner Harold L. Jones an aircrew from VB-6 on a mission to support the U. S. Marine Corps (USMC) landings at Tulagi. While orbiting the target, they were intercepted by A6M2 Zero piloted by Saburo Sakai.

Harold L. Jones recalled:
“As the Zero coming directly in from astern was about 500 feet away, he started shooting,” recalled Jones. “Some of our gunners answered with their twin .30 caliber machine guns. Some gunners, including myself, could not bring our guns to bear on him without damaging our tails, but as the Zero turned to the right and pulled up to miss us, every gunner was shooting at him…he could have been only 100 feet away!”

The SBD returned to the carrier safely, but had sustained minor damage and was repaired and returned to service.

Thanks to Jim Sawruk and Henry Sakaida for additonal information

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Last Updated
January 31, 2018


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