Lake Michigan Training Saves Combat Vets

October 8th, 2018 | by scott spangler

If there is a long forgotten annex that has preserved World War II combat veterans for eventual display at the National Museum of Naval Aviation, it is Lake Michigan. Without the inevitable accidents that occur when new naval aviators are learning to land on an aircraft carrier, we would not now be able to look upon the world’s sole surviving SB2U Vindicator torpedo bomber. We could not caress the dive brakes of an SBD-2 Dauntless dive bomber that witnessed the attach on Pearl Harbor, and fought in the battle of Midway. Nor could we gaze at an F4F-3 Wildcat that started its service in September 1941 with Fighting Squadron 5 aboard the USS Yorktown. They all ended their active service with the Carrier Qualification Training Unit (CQTU) at NAS Glenview, north of Chicago, Illinois. Looking at them today, imbued with the national worship of veterans, some might be critical of the decisions that led to these veterans of the greatest generation spending four of five decades in the depths of Lake Michigan. But the decision-makers of the time were not so constrained. They had a war to fight and win, and that pragmatism overruled all other considerations. And those who…

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