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Searching for sunken Warbirds.

On 29 May, under guidance of an underwater archaeologist from the Naval Historical Center, Washington, D.C., a Navy explosive ordnance disposal team from Fort Story, Va., began a week-long search of the southern portion of Lake Michigan for sunken WW II aircraft. Funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the team employed side-scan sonar to determine the likely positions of aircraft lost during aviator training from the in-land aircraft carriers Wolverine (IX 64) and Sable (IX 81).

The majority of carrier qualifications during WW II occurred on the decks of Sable and Wolverine, and a large number of landing signal officers and flight deck crew learned their trades in the two ships. Losses due to accidents were expected during this demanding training. Between 1942 and 1945, there were 122 aircraft losses and more than 200 separate flight deck accidents. Although the majority of these incidents resulted in only minor injuries, eight Naval Aviators lost their lives. Approximately 120,000 successful landings took place, and an estimated 17,000 Naval Aviators were qualified.

The Naval Historical Center's Underwater Archaeology Branch has management responsibility for the Navy's historic ship and aircraft wrecks. The aircraft lost in Lake Michigan have long been of interest, and this survey was the Center's first opportunity to search for the wrecks. Information obtained will help in the development of a management plan for all underwater wrecks in Lake Michigan. For more information, visit or

By National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Public Affairs
COPYRIGHT 2004 Department of the Navy, Naval Historical Center
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Title Annotation:WW II aircraft
Author:Lewis, Brandy
Publication:Naval Aviation News
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 1, 2004
Previous Article:Change of command.
Next Article:Cockpits of the Cold War.

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