Hobby Master 1-72 Air Power
HA0170 Douglas SBD-5 Dauntless USN VB-16, "White 39", Cook Cleland,
USS Lexington, Battle of Philippine Sea, June 1944

General information about the SBD-5 The SBD-5 Dauntless was the best variant built with 2,965 aircraft being built. Even with its upgrades there was one major stumbling block for this plane and that was its lack of folding wings. As the USN built more and more carriers for their offensive against Japan this problem became even larger. So after the invasion of the Marianna’s the USN SBDs were assigned to secondary land based operations where they spent the rest of WWII.

On April 21 1944 Lt. Cook Cleland, better known for his modified F2G Corsair racing after WWII, along with his Radioman/Gunner, W J Hisler were flying SBD-5 White 39 of VB-16 assigned to the carrier USS Lexington (CV-16). On this day near Hollandia New Guinea, Cleland downed a Sonia (Mitsubishi Ki-51 light bomber). On June 20 1944 Gunner Hisler downed a Zeke (Mitsubishi A6M Reisen) along with a second aircraft damaged. White 39 returned to the carrier with the fuel almost exhausted.