It started its career at Pearl Harbor in October 1943. From there it went to Espiritu Santo in the South Pacific in March of '44 and was assigned to 25 Squadron of the Royal New Zealand Air Force. During its brief service with the RNZAF, it flew 32 combat missions from Bougainville. In May of that year it was returned to the U.S. Navy at Russell Island and departed for San Diego in June.
Best known for its dive-bombing success against the Japanese during the Battle of Midway during World War II. Armed with two forward-firing .50-caliber ma- chine guns and flexible twin .30-caliber guns aft, the SBD was well defended while diving on a target with its typical configuration of a 500- or 1,000-pound bomb.
In 1958, museum founder Ed Maloney obtained Planes of Fame Air Museum's SBD Dauntless from a Hollywood film studio, minus its wings.
Restoration of the SBD by the Museum began in 1982 and was completed in 1987.
The museum's SBD is an actual combat veteran.
This aircraft is currently the only true Navy SBD Dauntless flown regularly.
This Dauntless was used in the movie Midway, with Charlton Heston being filmed in the cockpit.