Designed as a light bomber and reconnaissance aircraft, various versions of the Dauntless served during the war with the US Marine Corps, Army and Navy. The Douglas was the only plane to fight in every major Pacific engagement. The SBD-3, sarcastically nicknamed “Speedy Three”, entered service in March 1941 with production ending in July 1944, by which time a total of 5,936 had been built in all versions.
On June 4, 1942 the Japanese fleet was spotted off Midway and 16 SBD-2s from VSMB-241 were launched to attack the Japanese carriers. The squadron commander was shot down so Richard Fleming and Eugene Card flying Dauntless White 2 took the lead. White 2 pressed on and flying at 400 feet released their bomb on the Hiryu. Card had been wounded but managed to continue shooting. When White 2 landed they counted 179 holes in the aircraft. The aircraft couldn’t be flown until repairs had been made.