MMM Lecture Series: The Tuskegee Airmen Project

The Michigan Maritime Museum will be hosting State of Michigan Maritime Archaeologist Wayne Lusardi, Wednesday, April 18th from 6:30pm-7:30pm for his presentation, “Lake Huron Red Trails! The Tuskegee Airmen Project.” This is the final lecture of the Museum’s WWII Lecture Series. Lusardi will discuss his archaeological work on submerged planes in Lake Huron. In August 2015, Lusardi led an expedition to lower Lake Huron wherein 1944 a Bell P39 Airacobra flown by Tuskegee Airman Lieutenant Frank Moody crashed into the lake during a World War II training mission. The pilot was killed and the aircraft was not found until 2014. Utilizing the skills and experiences of a variety of partners including law enforcement agencies, the State of Michigan, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and members of the National Association of Black Scuba Divers and Diving with a Purpose, Lusardi organized and led a team that was able to document most of the scattered pieces of the wrecked aircraft.

“This is a unique project here in the Great Lakes and we are pleased to be able to host Mr. Lusardi,” says Director of Education & Administration Ashley Deming. “It’s our goal to honor and showcase WWII heroes through our current exhibit, Lake Michigan’s Call to Duty. Lt. Frank Moody was such a hero and it is a privilege to share his story at the Museum.”

Wayne Lusardi is Michigan’s State Maritime Archaeologist. He has been at Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary since 2002. Wayne researches and documents the nearly 1500 shipwrecks located in the state. He is involved in all aspects of fieldwork, survey, research, education and outreach. Wayne has an extensive background in underwater and terrestrial archaeology, artifact conservation, and material culture studies. Wayne was previously employed as an archaeological conservator for the Mariners’ Museum in Newport News, Virginia and excavated the USS Monitor’s turret after its recovery in 2002. He also spent four years on the Blackbeard shipwreck project in North Carolina. He received his MA degree in Maritime History and Nautical Archaeology from East Carolina University in 1998, and a BS in Anthropology from Illinois State University.

Admission is $8, $7 for seniors.  There is no admission fee for Museum members. Tickets will include admission to the Museum’s newest exhibit, Lake Michigan’s Call to Duty. The Museum will be open beginning at noon the day of the lecture and will open for the season April 19th Thursdays through Saturdays in April and 7 days a week beginning May 1st. For more information, contact the Museum at 269-637-8078 or visit