19 January, 2020

UPDATE Profile 138: Curtiss SB2C-4 Helldiver as flown by Lt. Curtis Cameron, VB-87

Bleh. It's ugly.

But, I didn't take the gig because I thought Helldivers were beautiful airplanes.

Actually, Helldivers don't even have (many) beautiful stories.

Practically, the Curtiss SB2C Helldiver is a tale of what happens when zeal, desperation and hubris collide.  Come to think of it, the story of this airplane could make a great semester course for an MBA program.  Need + Opportunity + Practicality added up to = a big, fat pig that probably shouldn't have happened.

In the end, however, it all worked out, pretty well.  A few years ago, I talked to a Marine test-pilot who had to certify rehabbed combat-worn Helldivers for future combat duty and he said, "Well, it wasn't a (completely) terrible airplane.  I'm alive, right?!"

Claude Hone (VMF-216) Marine F4U Corsair pilot who got stuck with testing Curtiss SB2C Helldivers c.July 1945 that had been rehabbed after hard combat duty.


Still, this isn't a story about Helldivers as much as it is about the people that flew them.

Right now, I've got a treasure box of artifacts and documentation that will accompany progress of this art. Be prepared to be blown away by some of this stuff; I will use this blog as a way to show you what I get to experience while drawing these historic aircraft.  Believe me, it's humbling to know you - the reader - want to see/feel/hear what I get to experience...

Hmmm x 2.

Anyways, the artwork will be publicly unveiled on April 18 this year and I'll put the finished piece up in this blog sometime after that.

In the meantime, let's start this off by going back in time to July 23, 1945.  The date-stamp is important because it's two days(?) before Lt. Curtis Cameron flew the mission that would fate him to be awarded the Navy Cross.

But, the date is also important because, Cameron's ship — the USS Ticonderoga (CV-14) was poised and ready to draw blood on 'the Japs.'  There's more to this story...and I'll brief you later.  But for now,   please click the graphic below to take you to the complete, official ship's newsletter, dated same.

Read the whole thing - CLICK HERE.
It's the real deal, it came from the family that commissioned this drawing. I scanned it myself and felt the time-worn paper in my own hands.  It's all here - even the politically incorrect stuff.

However, I hope you read it.  Again, it's a time-capsule of sorts and interesting in that regard alone.  But maybe you're like me and, while thumbing through the pictures and words, you find that life during the Greatest Generation's winning moments weren't so different than today.

More to come. :)