Great Lakes Aircraft Carriers

One of the odder incidents of World War II is the story of the training of US carrier pilots on the Great Lakes.  Confronted with the necessity of training massive numbers of carrier pilots, the Navy decided to do almost all of the initial training of carrier pilots where no enemy action was possible, on the Great Lakes.  Purchasing two coal burning paddle wheeler excusion vessels, the Navy converted them to the USS Sable and the USS Wolverine, training carriers.  The idea of training pilots on the Great Lakes was the brainchild of Commander Richard Whitehead who was stationed at the Naval Training Center 35 miles north of Chicago.  The USS Wolverine  operated out of Chicago and its flight operations, often conducted within sight of Chicago, frequently caused massive traffic jams on Lake Shore Drive due to the hordes of gawkers who turned out to witness the training.  Pilots on their way back to the carriers would often get frisky, buzzing the streets of Evanston, Illinois for example. (more…)

Published in: on May 13, 2013 at 5:30 am  Comments (4)