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  SBD-5 Dauntless Bureau Number 54532  
USN

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Gary Kuhn c1951–1966

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Robert Griffin 1975

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CAF 1999

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CAF 2005

Aircraft History
Built by Douglas at El Segundo, California. Constructors Number 17371. During April 1944, delivered to the U. S. Navy (USN) as SBD-5 Dauntless bureau number 54532.

Wartime History
This aircraft was assigned to the Bureau of Aeronautics General Representative (BAR) in Los Angeles, California and likely used as a personal transport until June 1945. Next assigned to the Bureau of Aeronautics Representative (BAR) in Baltimore, Maryland until December 1946.

Afterwards, assigned to the aircraft pool at NAS Norfolk. On February 8, 1947 officially stricken from charge and transferred to the War Assets Administration (WAA).

Postwar
In 1947 registered as NL1339V, later N1339V as the SBD-5 bureau number 54532, construction number 6046 [sic] and serial number 42-54532 [sic].

Sold to Andy Stinis of Skywriting Corporation of America for use as a high altitude skywriter but the aircraft's fuel consumption was too high and it was sold.

On October 18, 1951 sold to CIA Mexicana Aerofoto founded by Luis Struck and six days later the U. S. registration was canceled and marked as exported to Mexico. In Mexico, this aircraft was registered as XB-QUC. The aircraft was painted a light color with the registration XB-QUC in large block letters on the fuselage plus a stripe down the center of the fuselage and at the center of the tail. During late 1951 until early 1966 was used for aerial photography across Mexico for clients including Pemex, Mexican Electricity Commission and even the U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for a study of the Mississippi River Delta area.

On January 11, 1966 sold for $1,600.00 to Edward Maloney / Planes of Fame Museum (The Air Museum) and displayed until the early 1971. On March 4, 1971 when sold to Robert Griffin from San Antonio, Texas who nicknamed the Dauntless “Speedy D”. Registered in the United States as N54532.

In 1975, this Dauntless landed aboard USS Nimitz for the retirement ceremony for Admiral Ralph W. Cousins, Commanding Officer of the Atlantic Fleet painted in Cousins' 1942 markings including fuselage code B14 and red and white stripes on the tail during the Battle of the Coral Sea when he was credited with a bomb hit on Shoho.

Robert Griffin donated this aircraft to the Confederate Air Force / Commemorative Air Force (CAF). In October 1978 moved to Commemorative Air Force (CAF) Dixie Wing in Harlingen, Texas. Grounded for nearly a decade, this aircraft was restored over several years and registered as N82GA. This aircraft was nicknamed "Lady in Blue".

In 1999 the restored Dauntless took off pilot Mike Rettke and since then has flown in air shows across the United States for over twenty years. Today painted in the markings of an SBD-5 Dauntless U. S. Star outlined in red with fuselage number 5 and cowl number 5 painted white and a diagonal white stripe on the tail representing a Dauntless used in the Battle of the Marianas (The Marianas Turkey Shoot). On the right side of the cockpit is the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) logo painted in white.

References
This SBD-5 Dauntless bureau number is often confused with A-24B Dive Bomber 42-54532
USAF Serial Number Search Results - SBD-5 Dauntless 54532
"54532 (MSN 17371) to Mexican AF, then to Compania Mexicana Aerophoto SA as XB-QUC. By Jul 1964 was with Tallmantz Collection of Orange County, CA. In 1965 was with Air Museum, Ontario, CA. Registered 1960 to R. L. Griffin of San Antonio, TX as N54532. Later operated by Confederate Air Force as N54532. Now registered N82GA"
FAA Registry - Douglas N82GA 54532
Commemorative Air Force (CAF) SDB Lady In Blue - Dixie Wing
"Our 'Lady in Blue' and the pride of the Dixie Wing, the Douglas "Dauntless" SBD-5 dive-bomber was assigned to us by the headquarters of the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) in 1991. The Dixie Wing's 'Dauntless' was built at the El Segundo factory in California. After the war, it was sold to Mexico as XB-QUC and used for aerial photography until mid-1964. Ed Mahoney [sic] acquired it in 1965 and it was subsequently purchased by the CAF in 1970 and flown to San Antonio, Texas, and registered as N54532. It moved to Harlingen, Texas in October 1978."
CAF Douglas SBD-5 Dauntless BuAer 54532 A-24 or SBD? [PDF] by Keith Wood

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Last Updated
January 31, 2018

 

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