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  SBD-5 Dauntless Bureau Number 36630 Number 165
USMC
MAW-2
MAG 21
VMSB-241

Pilot  Captain Maurice E. Monley (rescued)
Gunner  Cpl James A. Snyder, 437337 (rescued)
Ditched  May 30, 1944


Aircraft History
Built by Douglas at El Segundo. Constructors Number 5258. Delivered to the U. S. Navy (USN) as SBD-5 Dauntless bureau number 36630. Disassembled and shipped overseas to the South Pacific and reassembled.

Wartime History
Assigned to the U. S. Marine Corps (USMC), Marine Air Wing 2 (MAW-2), Marine Air Group 21 (MAG-21), Marine Scout Bombing Squadron 241 (VMSB-241). No known nickname or nose art. Squadron Number 165.

Mission History
On May 30, 1944 at 8:00am took off from Emirau Airfield piloted by Captain M. E. Monley armed with a single 1,000 pound bomb plus two wing mounted 100 pound bombs as one of twenty-nine SBDs on a dive bombing mission led by Major James A. Feeley, Jr. against Kavieng Airfield at Kavieng on New Ireland. The formation also included TBF Avengers targeting the runway. Inbound, the weather was clear with cumulus cloud base at 1,500' with the tops at 15,000' on the way to the target.

Over the target by 9:45am, anti-aircraft fire was described as concentrated, intense and accurate including heavy anti-aircraft fire (fused to explode at low altitude) plus automatic anti-aircraft fire. Over Kavieng Airfield, the SBDs targeted anti-aircraft positions around the runway. This aircraft made a dive bombing attack and was hit in the port main tank, caught fire and ditched into the sea three miles northwest of North Cape. Also lost was SBD-5 54217 (MIA) and SBD-5 36661 (pilot rescued, gunner MIA).

Rescue
Both crew survived unhurt and were rescued by PBY Catalina and returned to duty.

Memorials
Monley served in World War II, the Korean War and Vietnam and retired from the U. S. Marine Corps with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He passed away on September 27, 1982 and is buried at Los Angeles National Cemetery at C-408, grave 285.

References
Navy Serial Number Search Results - SBD-5 Dauntless 36630
USN Overseas Aircraft Loss List May 1944 - SBD-5 Dauntless 36630

NARA "Marine Scout Bombing Squadron 241 VMSB-241 War Diary May 1944" page 10, 33
(Page 10) "30 May 1944 - Major Feeley led a most hazardous strike on the Kavieng Airdrome. Thirty SBDs took off at 0800 and before they returned at 1050 we faced the tragic news of the loss of one pilot and two gunners as well as three aircraft... Captain Maurice E. Monley went down with his gunner after receiving a hit in the port main tank. His plane immediately caught fire and he was obliged to make a water landing three miles northwest of North Cape. Both pilot and gunner were rescued by Dumbo."
(Page 32) "Damage to planes: Three planes lost.. Plane #165 was hit in the port main tank, caught fire and made a water landing three miles northwest of North Cape."
(Page 33) "Plane: 165 Pilot: Monley Gunner: Snyder Call [Sign]: 13Mine1 Squadron: VMSB-241 Remarks: Confirmed direct hit on a heavy position. Plane hit, caught fire, landed in water 3 miles northwest of N. Cape."
FindAGrave - LTC Maurice Ellsworth Monley (grave photo)

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Last Updated
May 25, 2019

 

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