‘Heroes on Deck’ film to screen at Maritime Museum

‘Heroes on Deck’ film to screen at Maritime Museum

Staff Report

“Heroes on Deck,”  a new documentary narrated by CBS and A&E anchorman Bill Kurtis, tells the story of forgotten World War II fighter planes at the bottom of Lake Michigan, the brave pilots who trained in them, and their link to the U.S. victory in the Pacific.

The 57-minute film will be shown at the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 17, with a members-only reception from 6:15 to 6:45 p.m.

After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the U.S. Navy was desperate for pilots who could take off from aircraft carriers, strike the enemy, navigate their way back to the ship and land safely, which was no easy task in the vast Pacific.

With only seven aircraft carriers left in the entire Navy, none could be spared for training. To quickly train thousands of aviators, Commander Richard F. Whitehead proposed a radical idea. He suggested that two coal-fired, side-wheeled, passenger steamers be converted into makeshift aircraft carriers.

“Heroes on Deck” is a story told by some of the brave men who were actually there.

Cost to attend the screening is $10 for members and $20 for others. For more information, log onto www.sbmm.org or www.heroesondeck.com, or call 456-8747.