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|Pilot Lt. Collins (WIA, rescued)
Gunner ? (rescued)
Ditched January 10, 1944
Built by Douglas. Constructors Number 1583. Delivered to the U. S. Navy (USN) as SBD-4 Dauntless bureau number 06738.
Assigned to the United States Marine Corps (USMC) to Marine Scout Bombing Squadron 236 "Black Panthers" VMSB-236. No known nickname, nose art or squadron number.
On January 10, 1944 took off from Munda Airfield on New Georgia piloted by Lt. Collins on a bombing mission led by Major McDaniel leading four divisions on a dive bombing mission against Rabaul. Inbound to the target, the engine quit forcing Collins to ditch onto a coral reef close to shore on Ghizo Island. On impact, Collins hit the bomb sight and broke his nose and cut an eyelid and caused a black eye.
Afterwards, both crew members were rescued and returned to duty, likely later that day or soon afterwards. Details of their rescue are unknown.
On January 11, 1944 this SBD was likely strafed and set on fire by three F4U Corsairs from Marine Fighting Squadron 212 (VMF-212) piloted by Captain W. A. Carlton with Lt. T. J. Horner and Lt. T. J. Trojnar. They reported strafing the SBD downed off Gizo and set it on fire on instructions from COMAIRSOLS AirOps.
Navy Serial Number Search Results - SBD-4 Dauntless 06738
NARA "USMC Marine Scout Bombing Squadron Two Thirty Six - War Diary 1-31 January 1944" page 2
"Cape St. George Strike: Major McDaniel once more led 4 divisions to attack the Rabaul area only to find it again closed in. They dropped on the secondary target, Cape St. George, New Ireland. Mission report attached.
Lt. Collins was forced to make a water landing off Gizo Island on the way to the target when his motor quit. He landed on a reef close to shore. His shoulder straps came loose and he crashed his head into the [bomb] sight, breaking his nose and cutting one eyelid severely while blacking his other eye."
NARA "Marine Fighting Squadron Two-Twelve War Diary January 1944" page 7
(Page 7) "[January 11, 1944] At 1430 Captain Carlton led Lts Horner and Trojnar off to cover the Task Group [Naval vessels, Task Unit 32.4.3 proceeding northerly south of Rendova]. En route they strafed a downed SBD off Gizo [likely SBD Dauntless 06738] and set it afire as instructed by AirOps."
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