HEROES ON DECK: World War II on Lake Michigan, a documentary Harvey Moshman, Executive Producer has been working on for several years, will be broadcast nationally over most PBS stations this Memorial Day weekend. WTTW, our network presenting station, will run it Thursday May 26th @ 9pm & Sunday May 29th @ 6pm.
HEROES ON DECK tells the little-known story of a bold and innovative local response to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Following that catastrophic event, the U.S. Navy was desperate for aircraft carrier-qualified pilots. With enemy submarines patrolling both coasts, a radical idea was proposed: why not train pilots in the safety of Lake Michigan? Two Great Lakes passenger steamers were purchased and 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. Narrated by legendary CBS and A&E newsman BILL KURTIS, HEROES ON DECK, brings to life a vital chapter of American history.
His partners John Davies, Brian Kallies and hope you’ll have a chance to watch.
Harvey Moshman, Executive Producer