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Sanctuary presentation to feature Tuskegee Airmen plane crash findings

(Photo Courtesy/Mike Beiermeister) State Maritime Archaeologist Wayne Lusardi removes zebra mussels and debris carefully from the door of a P-39 Tuskegee Airplane.

Alpena — The Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary continues their speaker series with one of the most fascinating topics related to Lake Huron and the state of Michigan.

During World War II, the Tuskegee Airmen would participate in pilot training programs at Selfridge Airfield northeast of Detroit and Camp Skeel near Oscoda. Six pilots lost their lives training on flights over Michigan.

Two Tuskegee airplanes have been found in Lake Huron. State of Michigan Maritime Archaeologist Wayne Lusardi and a team of archaeologist were able to dive down in Lake Huron to one of these plane crash sites off the coast of Port Huron to recover artifacts. Now, Lusardi is in the process of preserving these different items, so they can be added to an exhibit at the Tuskegee Airmen National Museum in Detroit.

“These can be the only Tuskegee-related archaeological sites perhaps in this country outside of Tuskegee, Alabama itself, and so it’s a pretty special thing and a great opportunity for us to learn from these sites and to learn about the men that were associated with the aircraft,” said Lusardi.

A presentation on the findings of the excavation, the stories of the pilots, and the cultural adversity these men went through in Michigan will be offered next Thursday, October 25 will take place at the Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center.

Wayne Lusardi will present the information and findings. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the presentation begins at 7:00 p.m. For more information, call 989-884-6200.