Meet Dusty Kleiss, Dive Bomber Hero of Midway

Dive bomber Norman "Dusty" Kleiss scored two hits on two different Japanese carriers in one day at the Battle of Midway. (Smithsonian Channel)

If you've seen the new epic World War II movie "Midway," you know the story of dive bomber pilot Dick Best. A caption at the end of the movie [SPOILER ALERT] reveals that Best was one of only two pilots to score multiple hits on a Japanese carrier in a single day.

Norman "Dusty" Kleiss was the other, and the Smithsonian Channel makes his story the centerpiece of its new documentary, "Battle of Midway: The True Story," set to premiere on Veterans Day at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

How the Navy recovered after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and put together a winning battle plan for Midway is one of the most compelling narratives of American military history. Both "Midway" the movie and "Battle of Midway: The True Story" the documentary can only scratch the surface, but they give complementary perspectives on the story. If you watch one of them, you'll most definitely enjoy the other.

Kleiss was a 1938 graduate of the Naval Academy and was part of Scouting Squadron Six (VS-6) on the USS Enterprise. He flew with Lt. Commander Wade McCluskey at Midway and scored direct hits on the Japanese carriers Kaga and Hiryu.

We've got an exclusive clip from the documentary, which weaves Kleiss' personal story into the history of the Navy's three key aircraft at Midway: the Devastator, Avenger and Dauntless.

Midway turned the tide of the war in the Pacific, and 2019 seems to be the year that we're all being reminded of its importance. "Battle of Midway: The True Story" is a solid addition to that story.

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