Awe / by Dave Hileman

Awe is a serious word and I would not use it lightly. It most often is attributed to an aspect of God or His creation. But not exclusively. Standing near, touching and viewing this aircraft, if you are the least bit interested in US history, might spark the same response from you. It is a SBD Dauntless, version 2, built in 1941. This actual airplane was at Pearl Harbor on 12/7 but was not damaged. It took part to three other major battles including one of the many Dauntless's that sunk four aircraft carriers of the Japanese navy that changed the course of the war at the Battle of Midway. It returned from that battle with 259 bullet holes. Early in the war the plane was deemed not worthy of more combat so it was ferried to Lake Michigan where it was used to teach new Navy airmen how to land on a carrier. The Navy had converted two side wheel excursion boats to makeshift landing decks in the lake to keep them safe from enemy subs. One pilot missed the deck and the plane was lost. It was recovered a few years ago in great condition and restored for display here at the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola. It is the only Navy plane of its type to see combat in WWII still in existence. See more here: