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Douglas SBD-3 "Dauntless" BuNo 4690, flown by Lt(jg) Stanley W. Vejtasa and Radioman Frank B. Wood USS Yorktown (CV 5), 8 May 1942
General Background
The Douglas “Dauntless” was the workhorse for the US Navy during the WWII. This “Slow but Deadly” dive-bomber was the only plane that had fight in every major Pacific conflicts. Although it had been considered obsolete in 1941 already, the Dauntless was used until 1944 and undertook the last major conflict in the Battle of Philippine Sea. A total of 5,936 SBDs were produced in WWII.
The Aircraft
On May 8, 1942 in retaliation for a U.S. task force attack on the Japanese carriers Shokaku and Zuikaku, aircraft from these two carriers attacked the USS Lexington and USS Yorktown. As part of the U.S. defense eight SBD-3 scouting crews from VS-5 on board USS Yorktown were assigned to low-level anti-torpedo patrol. During the encounter 4 of the SBD-3’s were shot down by Zeros with the loss of these crews. However, SBD-3 BuNo.4690 “Black S-10” piloted by Lt(jg) S. Vejtasa and Radioman/Gunner 3rd Class F. B. Wood was flown so aggressively that the Zeros never had a straight clean shot at them. In turn “Black S-10” was credited with 3 destroyed and Vejtasa was awarded the Navy Cross and would earn a second one at Santa Cruz in October 1942.
Specifications :


Length: 32 ft., 8 in.
Height: 13 ft., 7 in.
Wingspan: 41ft., 6 in.
Empty: 6,345 lb.
Gross: 10,400 lb.
Powerplant: One 1,000 horsepower Wright R-1820-52 engine
 Maximum Speed: 250 M.P.H.
Maximum Range with Bomb Load: 1,345 miles
Service Ceiling: 27,100 ft.
Crew: Pilot and gunner/radio operator
Armament: Two fixed forward-firing .50-in. guns, two flexible-mounted rear-firing .30-in. guns, 1,200 lb. of ordnance