world war two

The FM-2 Wildcat shortly after it was lifted from the depths of Lake Michigan.
The Air Zoo

Three World War II era planes that were once at the bottom of Lake Michigan have found a home at the Air Zoo in Portage. It’s the only museum in the country that has been tasked with restoring planes for the Naval Aviation Museum. The Air Zoo has already restored one submerged plane and is working to revive two more. 

Courtesy of the Gianunzio Family

For Independence Day, we have a rebroadcast of an "All-American" story. Tony Gianunzio of Kalamazoo shares his story of a baseball career put on hold by service in World War II. And how he finally made it to the pitcher's mound at Wrigley Field 73 years later. 

Back in the 1940s, when men headed off to fight in World War II, Chicago Cubs owner Philip Wrigley created something totally new: The All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. Teams stretched across the Midwest, from Racine, Wis., to Kalamazoo. At its peak, the league brought in almost one million fans per year. It also inspired the 1992 movie, “A League of Their Own”, best-known for the now-famous line, "There's no crying in baseball!"

Courtesy of the Gianunzio Family

If not for a change in the draft age for World War II Tony Gianunzio might have been on the pitcher’s mound at Wrigley Field 73 years earlier. 

Lake Michigan is famous for its shipwrecks, but at one time, it also held more than one hundred sunken World War II fighter planes. During the war, the United States Navy needed pilots who could take off from aircraft carriers on the Pacific Ocean and attack Japanese fighters. So, over the course of three years, more than 15,000 pilots went through aircraft carrier training on Lake Michigan - including former President George H.W. Bush.