Thursday July 26 at 1pm CST / 7pm EST
Nearly 130 United States Navy aircraft were lost in Lake Michigan during World War II. The vast majority of accidents occurred in lower Lake Michigan, in an almost forgotten naval project which had trained approximately 15,000 aircraft carrier pilots to take-off and land on two makeshift aircraft carriers between 1942 and 1945.
Over the past thirty-seven years, a small team of explorers have surveyed the southern basin of Lake Michigan in search of World War II US Navy aircraft. Close to 50 of those lost aircraft have been recovered. Many of the recovered aircraft have been restored and are now on display in museums across the country.Author, historian, and adventurer, Taras, is one of the leaders of a team that has recovered dozens of aircraft on behalf of the National Naval Aviation Museum. Taras has said many times that “We do this because it’s our way of showing the present and future generations what the men and the women of the greatest generation did to preserve our liberty and freedom.”
Today we have a magnificent example of this recovery and preservation work – the only flying model of a Wildcat F4F-3 from the Lewis Air Legends. Although it never saw combat, it is the same type and model flown by one of the most fascinating and courageous characters of the war, Edward Henry “Butch” OʼHare. If the name sounds familiar itʼs because Chicagoʼs OʼHare Airport is named after the Navyʼs first flying ace and Medal of Honor recipient. Butch OʼHare is practically synonymous with the Wildcat. Butch did not survive the war perishing on a night-time fighter intercept mission protecting his aircraft carrier.
Taras’ book will be on sale in the Warbird store where Taras and the panel will be available for autographs at 2:00 pm following the presentation. Photo Courtesy Scott Slocum.