The WWII Gunner Who Actually Threw His Radio at a Japanese Plane

YouTube / TJ3 History

During World War II, 98-year-old Dick Miralles served as a gunner on the SBD Dauntless Dive Bomber in the Pacific Theater. 

He’s the last surviving member of Air Group 11 and still has his logbook up to this day. He also gets to be a tail gunner again in his SBD Dauntless for the first time since 1943.

Tail Gunner

Miralles enlisted himself during the war and would end up serving in the US Navy, where he would be assigned to their new dive bomber, the SBD Dauntless. Not as a pilot though, but as a radio man, and gunner.

Last Surviving Member

As of the present, Miralles is the last surviving member of Air Group 11 that served in the Pacific Theater during WWII. After the carrier USS Hornet CV-8 was sunk, Air Group 11 was stationed at Henderson Field on Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands.

Logbook Entries

Throughout the entire 33-minute video, old photos, and flight sim recreations would be woven back and forth about his time in the backseat of the Dauntless based on his logbook entries. 

Throwing a Radio at a Japanese Plane

In one of his entries, Miralles recalled that when his guns jammed, he grabbed the plane’s radio coils and threw it at Japanese Zeroes who jumped at them when they were about to make a landing. 

He threw it, hoping it would hit the propeller. Fortunately, they were able to radio two marine fighter planes nearby. The Japanese planes turned and flew away and they were able to land at Russel Islands safely.

Final Ride

Fast forward 80 years later, Dick Miralles was able to fly his plane again at the Commemorative Air Force Airbase in Georgia and was able to make that final entry in his logbook. 

Airbase Georgia pilot Peter Hague, who flew with the veteran said that Miralles enjoyed every minute of it. After doing a couple of flight maneuvers, Miralles even uttered “more!”