|Pilot Lt. James Wilson Dougherty (survived)
Gunner Sgt Robert Bernard (survived)
Ditched July 23, 1943 at 1:00pm
Built by Douglas at the El Segundo Plant, California. Constructors Number 2275. Assigned to the United States Marine Corps (USMC). Assigned to VMSB-144. No known nose art or nickname.
On July 23, 1943 took off from Banika Field (North Field, Sunlight) in the Russell Islands on a dive bombing mission against targets in the Munda area, armed with a 500 lbs bomb. During the dive bombing run against Japanese positions at
Kindu on Gurasai Point on
Rendova Island, this aircraft was hit by 40mm anti-aircraft fire.
Damaged, pilot Dougherty ditched
Harbor, east of the Allied
landing beach. Both crew were unhurt in the ditching, aside from a
head wound when Dougherty impacting the bomb site.
Fates of the Crew
Both were rescued and returned to duty.
This Dauntless remains in situ in 12 meters of water. This wreck was identified by Ronnie Day. On July 23, 1995, the former
pilot, James Dougherty, traveled to Rendova to SCUBA dive on his former airplane. He sat in the cockpit, and the visit was the
topic of a documentary Lost
Warriors of the South Pacific by Pacific Media Associates
/ Robert Keet.
Robert Keet adds:
"The video of the pilot getting back into the seat of his SBD
was July 23, 1995. Exactly 52 years to the minute after being
brought down by a 40mm AA. Jim even visited the exact
guns that hit his plane as they were still at Kindu. The guys
that helped him into the plane were myself, Bill Angione (a
Los Angeles County Sheriffs dept Diver/Paramedic/Instructor
and Dave Cooke, (Solomon Sea Divers, Munda)."
Warriors of the South Pacific covers Dougherty's 1995 visit.
War Wrecks of the Coral Sea includes dive footage of this wreck
to Robert Keets for photos and visit details
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January 5, 2018