Aircraft Data Sheet

for TBM-3E Bu. No. 85957


 Operational for the first time on June 4, 1942, in the midst of the Battle of Midway, the Grumman Avenger can scarcely be said to have opened its active career auspiciously.  Of the six TBF-1s launched into battle from Midway early that morning, five failed to return; the sixth came back with only the trim tab for longitudinal control, with one wheel and the torpedo-bay doors hanging open and with one gunner dead and the other wounded.  Despite this sad beginning, the Avenger was destined to become the Navy's standard torpedo-bomber throughout World War II and to remain in operational Fleet service in a variety of roles until 1954.   
(source: United States Navy Aircraft since 1911 by Gordon Swanborough and Peter Bowers)

Perhaps the most famous Avenger pilot during the war was future President of the United States George H.W. Bush. In September 1944 while flying from the light carrier San Jacinto (CVL 30) on a bombing mission against a Japanese radio station on Chichi Jima, Bush's aircraft was severely damaged by antiaircraft fire. Despite a flaming engine, he continued his dive to score a direct hit before being forced to bail out over water. He was picked up by a submarine and subsequently returned to his squadron to fly additional combat missions. Both of his crewmen failed to survive.

Click on photo to view larger version.




Photo by Frank Warren.

Photo by Frank Warren.


Photo by Frank Warren.

Photo by Toney Herlevic

Photo by Frank Warren.

Remarks:   This aircraft was loaded on the ship on 10 November 2006.  It is exhibited on the hangar deck next to the SNJ.

Aircraft Donor Information

Aircraft Sponsor Information

Information about Jim Dunigan, whose name painted near the dorsal gun turret.

Bu No 85957 Assignment Record

Date of manufacture:  1945

Manufacturer:  Eastern Aircraft Division, General Motors Corporation

Partial History Record:

 3/29/45        ACCEPTED BY US NAVY          

 3/28/45        USNAF TRENTON, NJ

 4/19/45        SAN DIEGO, CA   VC-10

 5/28/45        CA  SU-5

 6/5/45          VT-98

 11/8/45        CASU 33

 8/13/46        NAF SOUTH WEYMOUTH

 3/11/47        NAS NORFOLF, VA

 7/11/47        LOS ALAMITOS, CA - Belly landing

 2/22/48        NAS, DENVER, CO

 3/27/49        NAS SAN DIEGO, CA

 4/3/49          NAS SAN DIEGO, CA

 8/19/50        NAS, OLATHE, KS

 4/8/52          NAS SAN DIEGO - OVERHAUL

 1/31/53        NAS MINNEAPOLIS, MN

 6/10/53        NAS NORFOLK, VA

 4/16/54        LITCHFIELD STORAGE


 Total Time Since New 1,207.3 hrs.

 Total Time Since Overhaul 91.0 hrs.



Donor of the aircraft to museum:  Mr. Sidney F. Summers


View the Avenger page in the National Museum of Naval Aviation web site.






Page updated on 30 November 2007