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CAF SBD Dive Bomber Featured at USS Ware Reunion

PEACHTREE CITY, GA (Sept. 7, 2022) - An authentic World War II SBD-5 Dauntless Dive Bomber will visit McMinn County Airport in Athens, Tennessee on Oct. 7 for the reunion of crew members from the USS Charles R. Ware, which was commissioned in 1945. A limited number of rides will be available during the SBD’s visit, scheduled from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

This is the aircraft type flown by Charles Rollins Ware in 1942 when he was lost at sea during the Battle of Midway. This meticulously restored SBD Dauntless is operated and maintained by the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) Airbase Georgia, based in Peachtree City, GA. It appears in airshows, flyovers, and events throughout the year, to commemorate the memory of the Greatest Generation of World War II.

USS Ware crew members and families will gather in Athens, Tenn., for a traditional reunion and 20th-anniversary commemoration of the Lt. Ware Memorial and Veterans Memorial Park, as well as the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Midway. The SBD Dauntless appearance will be a highlight of the reunion.

Charles Rollins Ware, born in Knoxville, Tenn., enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1929 and was appointed to the U.S. Naval Academy. After graduation in 1934, Ware served on the battleship USS Texas and the destroyer USS Dahlgren until February 1940, when he entered flight training at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla.

Serving as an SBD Dauntless pilot with Scouting Squadron 6 (VS-6), based on the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise, Lieutenant Ware, and his division of six SBDs attacked the Japanese carrier Kaga, one of four Japanese carriers sunk during the Battle of Midway on June 4, 1942. During their return to the Enterprise, they successfully fought off attacks by Japanese fighters but ran out of fuel and were forced to ditch. One crew was rescued; another crew was picked up by a Japanese destroyer and later executed. Ware and the other SBD crewmen were reported missing in action. He was awarded the Navy Cross posthumously. A Gearing Class Destroyer (DD-865) named after Ware was commissioned in 1945 and served until 1974.

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