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  SBD-3 Dauntless Bureau Number 4597  

Pilot  Lt. John James Powers, O-074968 (MIA / KIA) New York, NY
Gunner  ?
MIA  May 8, 1942

Aircraft History
Built by Douglas at El Segundo, California. Delivered to the U. S. Navy (USN) as SBD-3 Dauntless bureau number 4597. Assigned to USS Yorktown CV-5 to Bombing Squadron 5 (VB-5). No known nickname or nose art.

Mission History
On May 8, 1942 during the Battle of the Coral Sea took off from USS Yorktown CV-5 in the morning piloted by Lt. John James Powers armed with a single 1,000 pound bomb leading the third division on a bombing attack against Shōkaku.

Over the target at roughly 10:30am at an altitude of 18,000', the SBDs spotted the carrier escorted by cruisers and destroyers. The formation used cloud cover and reached an attack position by 10:49am southeast of the enemy force and waited for TBD Devastators from Torpedo Squadron 5 (VT-5) for mutual support and to make a coordinated attack.

Under attack, Shōkaku was making wild evasive maneuvers at roughly 34 knots to avoid the American aircraft. Her anti-aircraft batteries and Combat Air Patrol (CAP) of six Zeros airborne plus six more launched during the attack attempted to intercept the Americans.

At approximately 11:00am Powers made a low dive bombing attack before releasing his bomb that was credited with hitting the starboard side aft of the island and caused fires on both sides of the flight deck. This aircraft was last seen attempting to recover from his dive at roughly 200' and was obscured by anti-aircraft fire, smoke, flames and debris that caused it to crash nearby into the sea. When he failed to return, he was officially declared Missing In Action (MIA). Late, Powers earned the Medal of Honor and Purple Heart, posthumously.

Powers was officially declared dead a year later on May 9, 1943. He is memorialized at the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery.

During February 1944, USS John J. Powers (DE-528) was named in his honor, christened by his mother. At the U.S. Naval Academy (USNA) there is a memorial plaque in the memorial hall. Powers also has a memorial at Woodlawn Cemetery in Bronx, New York.

USN Overseas Aircraft Loss List May 1942
SBD-3 Dauntless 4597 pilot Lt. John J. Powers
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - John J. Powers
FindAGrave - Lt John James Powers (photo, tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - John James Powers (photo, memorial marker photo)
NARA Office of Naval Intelligence "The Battle of the Coral Sea" page 22 mentions Powers
Naval History and Heritage Command "Battle of the Coral Sea"
The First Team mentions Powers and this loss

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Last Updated
February 4, 2018


Tech InfoSBD

Tech Info
2 Missing

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