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Heroes on Deck - World War II on Lake Michigan

Purchase a DVD of 'Heroes on Deck: World War II on Lake Michigan' as seen on Decades

On Memorial Day, DECADES was proud to present Heroes on Deck: World War II on Lake Michigan. This 57-minute, Emmy Award-winning documentary, narrated by DECADES own Bill Kurtis, tells the story of forgotten World War II fighter planes at the bottom of Lake Michigan, the brave pilots who trained in them, and their link to U.S. victory in the Pacific.

Now, you can own your own copy of this fascinating piece of American history.

Heroes on Deck: World War II on Lake Michigan tells the story of a bold and innovative response to the Japanese attack on PearlHarbor. Following that catastrophic event, the U.S. Navy was desperate for aircraft carrier pilots. With enemy submarines patrolling both coasts, Commander Richard F. Whitehead of the Ninth NavalDistrict – Chicago proposed a radical idea. Why not train pilots in the safety of Lake Michigan?

Two Great Lakes passenger steamers were immediately converted into makeshift aircraft carriers, the USS Wolverine and USS Sable. Between 1942 and the end of the war, more than 15,000 aviators — including future President George H.W. Bush — were trained aboard these "freshwater flattops."

Crashes and water landings often led to serious injuries and occasionally death. As a result, more than one hundred fighters and dive-bombers sank to the bottom of the lake. To date, more than 40 aircraft have been brought to the surface. Heroes on Deck captures some of the key recoveries and restoration efforts and celebrates the stories of the brave pilots who survived this ingenious training operation.

Add the DVD to your collection for $19.95, or download the film for $9.95. Order a copy at

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