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  SBD-2 Dauntless Bureau Number 2148  
2nd MAW

Pilot  2nd Lt Harold G. Schlendering (survived)
Gunner  PFC Edward Oliver Smith, 296050 (MIA / KIA) MS

Crashed  June 4, 1942

Aircraft History
Built by Douglas at El Segundo. Constructors Number 652. Delivered to the U. S. Navy (USN) as SBD-2 Dauntless bureau number 2148. Assigned to the U. S. Marine Corps (USMC) to 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, Marine Air Group 22 (MAG-22) to Marine Scout-Bombing Squadron 241 (VMSB-241). No known nickname or nose art.

Mission History
On June 4, 1942 took off from Midway Airfield piloted by 2nd Lt Harold G. Schlendering as part of a strike by U. S. Marine Corps aircraft from squadron VMSB-241 against the Japanese fleet at the start of the Battle of Midway.

Col. Ira L. Kimes, commanding officer of MAG-22 ordered the squadron to "Attack enemy carriers bearing 320° distance 180 miles course 135°  speed 20 knots." The formation included a total of 27 Marine aircraft including sixteen SBD-2 Dauntless dive bombers led by SBD-2 Dauntless 2129 piloted by Major Lofton R. Henderson plus eleven SB2U-3 Vindicators led by Major Benjamin W. Norris.

Flying faster than the Vindicators, the Dauntless formation climbed to 9,000' and sighted the Japanese fleet at 7:55am including at least two enemy carriers. Henderson's formation circled to 8,500' in preparation for initiating a glide bombing attack from 4,000'.

At roughly 8,000' the formation was intercepted by Japanese A6M2 Zeros. As lead aircraft, Henderson's SBD-2 Dauntless 2129 was one of the first targeted by Zeros and shot down.

After Henderson was shot down, Captain Glidden took command of the rest of the formation and attacked despite heavy anti-aircraft fire and Zeros. This SBD sustained damage to the elevator controls and killed gunner Smith.

Although the Marines claimed one of the carriers was burning and smoking heavily, they claimed three direct hits and two near misses. From the Japanese side, three SBDs from VMSB-241 likely scored near misses against Kaga at 8:30 and four near misses against Hiryū at 8:50am. Possibly, one of the SBDs (misidentified as a fighter by the Japanese) strafed Hiryū and killed four crew. Nagumo erroneously noted that Akagi and Soryu sustained bomb hits but this seems to have been reported in error as the damage caused to both carriers were likely caused by U. S. Navy SBD Dauntless dive bombers later in the morning.

Damaged, this aircraft turned back to base and managed to reach within eight miles from the reef at Midway Atoll before the engine failed.

Pilot Schlendering bailed out and landed safely into the sea. Afterwards, Schlendering was rescued by a PT Boat and transported to Sand Island and given medical treatment.

Smith was officially declared dead on June 5, 1943. He is memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Honolulu Cemetery (Punchbowl).

NARA War Diary Marine Scout-Bombing Squadron Two Forty-One, Marine Aircraft Group Twenty-Two, Second Marine Aircraft Wing, FMF., June 1, 1932 to June 30, 1942
(Page 4) "4. At about 0755 the enemy task force was sighted and preparations were made to attack. It was the intention of Major Henderson to make a gild-bombing attack from about 4,000 feet; the approach was started to get into position. At the first part of the let-down circle the squadron was attacked by several enemy fighter planes. Violent anti-aircraft fire was started by the enemy at this time. Fighter were observed taking off from the carrier deck."
(Page 7) "Missing in action were: - 6. 2nd Lt. Harold G. Schlendering, who, with elevator control shot away and gunner Pfc. Edward O. Smith, killed in action, managed to come within eight miles of the reef before engine failure. He jumped and was picked up by a PT boat and taken to Sand Island sick bay."
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Edward Oliver Smith
FindAGrave - Edward Herbert Smith (courts of the missing photo)

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Last Updated
June 29, 2019


Tech InfoSBD

1 Missing

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