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HAL looks into naval aviation

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Mon, Feb 6th 2017 12:40 pm

The Historical Association of Lewiston's next program, "Cruise Ships to Carriers," will take place at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 23, at Lutheran Church of the Messiah (Fellowship Hall), 915 Oneida St. Historian Doug DeCroix is the guest speaker.

The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, on Dec. 7, 1941, ushered in a new era in naval warfare. While far removed from the world's oceans, Western New York played a significant role in several milestones in the evolution of naval aviation. Not the least of these involved the conversion of a pair of Great Lakes luxury cruise ships to aircraft carriers in 1942-43. This important, but little-known event will be the topic of DeCroix's presentation. He will discuss the rational for the conversion, as well as shed light on the project and its aftermath.

DeCroix currently serves as executive editor of Western New York Heritage Press, the not-for-profit publisher of Western New York Heritage magazine. He holds degrees in history from the University of Illinois and Miami University of Ohio, and achieved doctoral candidacy status at Bowling Green State University.

A native of Chicago, DeCroix came to Western New York in the early 1990s. Since then, he has made significant contributions to numerous nationally aired historical documentaries produced by WNED-TV and The History Channel. He oversaw production of the three-volume commemorative series on the War of 1812, published by Western New York Heritage, and was one of the scholars selected to contribute a chapter for the "Routledge Handbook of the War of 1812," published by the Taylor & Francis Group in late 2015.

For his contributions to regional history, DeCroix was selected to receive the prestigious Owen B. Augspurger Award by the Buffalo History Museum in October 2015. He continues to collaborate with a variety of cultural and educational organizations, working to celebrate the region's rich history while seeking creative ways of bringing that history into the classroom and into the lives of the region's inhabitants.

This event is free and open to all, and refreshments will be served.

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