Warbird Retrieved From Lake Michigan
December 1, 2009 — Another warbird from World War II has been plucked from the waters of Lake Michigan near Chicago after being submerged for decades. On Monday, November 30, a salvage company raised a mostly intact Grumman F6F-3 Hellcat from a depth of about 250 feet near Waukegan, just north of the city. The airplane sank in 1945 during a training flight for carrier landings.
According to a report by WLS in Chicago, the pilot was Lieutenant Walter Elcock, who is still alive and living in Atlanta, Georgia. His grandson was on hand when the Hellcat emerged from the water Monday and was given the honor of sitting in the cockpit.
In April 2009, a Douglas SBD Dauntless dive bomber was recovered from Lake Michigan off Waukegan.
The salvage effort is being underwritten by of Enterprise Rent-A-Car, a company named for the WWII carrier USS Enterprise. The reason: CEO Andrew Taylor’s, father was a Hellcat pilot who served on the Enterprise.
Plans are for the aircraft to be disassembled and transported to Pensacola, Florida, where it will be restored and reassembled for display at the National Naval Aviation Museum. See a video of the Hellcat being raised on November 30.