Lower Otay Lake - Chula Vista California - August 2010

Who would believe that there was a World War II Bomber at the bottom of Lower Otay Lake in Eastern Chula Vista? I’ve fished this lake many times and hiked the hills around it for many years and never once imagined there was an airplane at the bottom of it let alone a rare Navy SB2C Helldiver. I can remember coming out to the Upper and Lower Otay Lakes back in the late 1980’s and all through the early 1990’s long before the real estate boom when homes sprung up around the lakes edges. I can remember cattle covering the fields and grazing on early misty mornings and lazy afternoons. It was more like a western scene from 100 years ago, long before there was an EastLake. When I first heard about the World War II Bomber in the Lower Otay Lake I immediately wondered how it got there and why it was being pulled out.

I had just finished up a round of golf at the EastLake Greens Golf Course on Saturday when my friend John brought up the airplane in the lake. I said let’s go see if it’s still there. We took a drive from the golf course through EastLake Greens on World War II War Plane Chula Vista LakeHunte Parkway and a right down Otay Lakes Road. We turned right onto Wueste Road and through EastLake Vistas down to the Lower Otay Lake. We knew right away that it was still there from the amount of cars parked along-side the road and the carnival like excitement on the people’s faces walking to and from the closed parking lot. We saw the erect white arm of the giant crane used to pull the Helldiver from its wet and muddy grave. As we parked and walked closer we saw the grey plane sitting on the rocky shoreline of the lake next to the fishing dock. Needless to say it looked pretty cool. My friend and I are both former Marines and this made out for an exciting encounter with a piece of military history. Kind of like meeting a war hero the likes of Chesty Puller or Dan Daly, although they are long dead this military hero was brought to life from its long dark and muddy sleep. This war plane had never seen combat but if its fait were of different circumstance I know it would have.

For the full story, much better than I could tell it please visit the Naval Aviation Museum Web Site for all the information on the Helldiver history and what’s going to happen to it.

http://www.navalaviationmuseum.org/getdoc/9fd86cd2-40a3-4d11-a768-2f5205355b96/Helldiver-Rising.aspx

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