Curtiss SB2C-3 Helldiver Crashes During Carrier Qualifications

This Curtiss SB2C-3 Helldiver, Bureau Number 18956, went over the side during carrier landing qualifications aboard USS Charger (CVE-30). Piloted by Lieutenant O. R. Brown; he sustained minor head injuries. The fate of the radioman-gunner is not known. The SB2C was not as popular as its predecessor, the Douglas SBD Dauntless. While both planes carried the same bomb load, the Dauntless was easier to handle while the Helldiver was more rugged and was more powerful. Several Navy officers tried to stop the SB2C from entering service but since the contracts were already ordered, the type was approved. Subsequent modifications allowed for better handling and operational performance. Still, it was nicknamed the "Beast" or Sonavabitch Second Class." Charger was built as a merchant ship and then converted to an escort carrier for the Royal Navy. She was transferred to the US Navy in October 1941. Charger was stationed in Chesapeake Bay throughout most of the war training pilots for antisubmarine duties. Ships like Charger helped American pilots to have 500-600 hours of training before entering combat.
Caption Written By: 
Jason McDonald
United States Navy
Date Photographed: 
Wednesday, June 21, 1944
USS Charger (CVE-30)
Chesapeake Bay
United States