HA1221 Hobbymaster 1/72nd scale Grumman TBM-1C Avenger “Barbara III” White 2 of VT-51, USS San Jacinto, 1944 Lt G Bush. Buy now online at Flying Tigers.
Just prior to the start of WW II the USN started to look for a replacement for their ageing Douglas Devastator. Grumman made a presentation of a prototype labeled as XTBF-1 that impressed the USN and they placed an order to purchase. The plane was perfect for the Navy needs, a huge rotary engine that was enclosed in a barrel like fuselage to cut down on drag, and with some increase in the fuselage and wing lengths would accommodate a three-man crew. Production on what was now officially known as the TBF/TBM Avenger and would come to receive the affectionate name of “The Turkey” from the pilots that flew them began in 1941 with first delivery just in time for the Battle of Midway in June 1942. What started out as a carrier borne torpedo bomber soon turned into a close-support bomber, a patrol aircraft and even a trainer.
On September 2, 1944 George Herbert Walker Bush was piloting his three-man Avenger “Barbara III” on a raid to the island of Chichi Jima. As he began his dive on the target the aircraft was hit by anti-aircraft fire and began to burn but Bush continued his dive. He then turned toward the sea and told the crew to bail out because the aircraft might explode. Unfortunately only two men got out, George Bush’s chute opened but the second didn’t. Bush was rescued by a USN submarine.