AIR: Last of the Line

The 5,396th Dauntless rolled off the line last week in the sprawling El Segundo aircraft plant in Los Angeles County. No. 5,396 was the last of an honored breed: the Navy's dive-bombing SBD (for Scout Bomber, Douglas).

The SBD has been the backbone of the Navy's air war in the Pacific. For a few months it will still be at war. But a more modern dive bomber has begun to edge the Dauntless out: Curtiss Corp.'s Hell-diver (SB2C). Over the months SBDs will gradually disappear from battle, be put out to pasture as advanced training planes. At the...

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