Archaeology Magazine

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

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Last Flight of a Tuskegee Airman

November/December 2015

Trenches Bell Airacobra


The wreckage of a Bell P-39 Airacobra in Lake Huron—last flown on a 1944 training mission by 2nd Lt. Frank Moody—was examined recently by a team led by Wayne Lusardi, Michigan’s state maritime archaeologist. Moody, who died in the crash, was one of the famed Tuskegee Airmen, the U.S. military’s first group of African-American aviators. This is the first archaeological documentation of the wreckage, which was found last year. Lusardi’s team included divers from the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary and Diving with a Purpose (DWP), a nonprofit dedicated to maritime history and archaeology involving African Americans. Five DWP members came from across the country to help with the project, and held a brief service for Moody aboard the dive boat. For more about the underwater archaeology of Lake Huron, see “Shipwreck Alley” (January/February 2015).


Trenches Airacobra Instrument Panel Running Light