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NAS San Diego
|Pilot Chief Aviation Pilot William Rozelle Parks, Jr. (missing) New Orleans, LA
Crew ARM3c Richard Harold Moore (missing) Bloomington, IL
Crashed August 24, 1943
Built by Douglas at El Segundo. Constructors Number 796. Delivered to the U. S. Navy (USN) as SBD-3 Dauntless bureau number 4563. This aircraft was sent to the South Pacific (SOPAC).
During 1942, assigned to Scouting Squadron 72 (VS-72) based at Efate in New Hebrides (Vanuatu). No known nickname, nose art or squadron number. Until at least December 1942, this aircraft operated in the South Pacific. On December 31, 1942 this SBD might have suffered an accident or sustained minor damage. Afterwards, this aircraft returned to the United States.
During 1943 assigned to Naval Air Station San Diego (NAS San Diego) and attached to Utility Squadron 7 (VJ-7) and used for target towing and training missions. No known nickname, nose art or squadron number.
On August 24, 1943 at 10:32am took off from NAS San Diego piloted by Captain William R. Parks, Jr. with crew member ARM3c R. M. Moore on a training mission to tow target sleeves for gunnery training. During the flight, this aircraft was observed to crash into the sea three miles off Pacific Beach in San Diego. The crash was reported by Ensign McGuire from VJ-7 and USMC Captain Erskine.
Afterwards, USN Crash Boat No.1 was sent to the site of the crash site but only located three rolled up and partially burned target sleeves plus miscellaneous small articles including two gloves and a oxygen bottle.
During 2019, this SBD was reportedly found by a local SCUBA diver.
Neither Parks or Moore have known graves in the United States.
Navy Serial Number Search Results - SBD-3 Dauntless 4563
USN Overseas Aircraft Loss List December 1942 - 12/31/42 SBD-3 4563 VS-72 Efate SOPAC
NARA U. S. Naval Air Station San Diego War Diary August 1943 page 9
(Page 9) 24 August 1943: 1032 - SBD #4563, pilot Wm. R. Parks, Jr., CAP., crew R. M. Moore, ARM3/c, attached to VJ-7, crashed at sea about 3 miles off Pacific Beach. Crash was reported to VJ-7 by Ensign McGuire. Captain Erskine, USMC, also witnessed crashed. Crash boat No.1 reported finding 3 rolled up and burned tow target sleeves and miscellaneous small articles, including 2 gloves and a oxygen bottle."
The San Diego Union "Two Killed in Crash Off Pacific Beach" August 25, 1943 page 1
"Two men were killed when a navy plane plunged into the ocean during a routine training flight off Pacific Beach yesterday morning the 11th Naval district announced. Eyewitnesses at Pacific Beach reported a large column of smoke arose where the plane crashed, about five miles off Crystal pier, and said the plane exploded when it struck the water. The official navy announcement gave no details of the crash and said that names of men killed would be withheld until the next of kin had been notified."
The San Diego Union "Victims of Crash Identified by Navy" August 26, 1943 page 4
Thanks to John Wilkens for additional information
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June 18, 2020
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