"Home to the Big T"
Curtiss SB2C-4E Helldiver

The Helldiver was a powerful, hard-hitting dive-bomber designed to undertake a variety of missions which gained many combat successes.  However, pilots hated it!  Aircrews nicknamed it, in reference to its designation SB2C, ‘son of a bitch, second class’. While to others, it was simply ‘The Beast”.

Designed in the late 1930’s to replace the Douglas Dauntless by 1942, the SB2C lagged far behind schedule and never really caught up.  The first carrier unit, VB-17 aboard the USS Bunker Hill, initiated the ‘The Beast” to combat in November 1943.  From that point, another eight months would pass before the Helldivers would fully replace the Dauntlesses aboard the fast carriers.

Pictured in this painting are three SB2C-4E Helldivers of VB-87 (Bombing Squadron 87) returning to the carrier USS Ticonderoga, ‘The Big T’, empty of bombs and rockets after a successful strike in support of the Okinawa campaign, June 1945.