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Earlier this week, the Traverse City Ticker – an essential local news source to Northern Michigan residents – had a top story worth sharing with aviation enthusiasts. Naturally, we were excited and wanted to share the details on the RF System Lab blog.

According to the Ticker, the Grand Traverse Lighthouse Museum will host an exhibit commemorating secret naval training and testing that occurred in Northern Michigan during WWII. Lake Michigan was chosen because it was the only U.S.-landlocked body of water large enough to accommodate the ships.

From 1942 to 1945 the USS Wolverine and the USS Sable, aircraft carriers converted from passenger ships, were stationed in Lake Michigan. They were used for secret training of sailors and pilots to avoid spies from Japan that were placed in the Pacific.

The Ticker was able to speak with Amanda Wetzel, assistant lighthouse director, about her efforts to bring this exhibit to Traverse City.  As stated in the original article “Last October, Wetzel began talking to veterans who served on and locals who remember seeing the ships. Since then, she says she’s ‘uncovered a lot of the story that didn’t receive the press it deserved, that there was an aircraft carrier stationed here in Grand Traverse Bay in the 1940s.’”

In addition to the secret ships, the U.S. Navy also tested top secret equipment, which included technology similar to current day unmanned aerial vehicles; which were guided by rotary style phones as they took off from the local Cherry Capital Airport.

During WWII, Navy personnel were frequently seen in Traverse City, but training and testing were hardly ever topics overheard in everyday conversation. “The belief was loose lips sink ships,” says Wetzel. “You didn’t talk about it. They truly believed spies were everywhere.” Wetzel told the Ticker that more than 17,000 men were trained on the carriers.

Attractions at the exhibit will include documents, photos and various artifacts of the era, as well as remarks by former President George H. Bush, who trained on the Sable. There will also be a gala honoring past and present navy and coast guard personnel at the Park Place Hotel.

To view the original article about this exciting event coming to our hometown, visit the Traverse City Ticker.

Image via JasonGillman.com

Every so often we will receive a phone call where the conversation leads to “Where is RF System Lab located?” When we provide the caller with an answer, their response is usually one of the following two options:

“Hmm. Never heard of it – is it cold up there?” – Usually someone located on the west coast or the deep south.


“I vacationed there a couple years back! I’ve been dying to get back; there was so much to do. It was the perfect summer getaway. You’re lucky to be located there!” – Someone who cannot wait to get back and visit.

Therefore, we decided to provide a bit of insight about our gorgeous location and the benefits of having an office in Traverse City, Michigan.

One of the first things to mention would be that Traverse City is quickly becoming a nationally recognized “Top Foodie Town,” which is thanks to our keep-it-local mentality, farm-to-table fare and freshly caught seafood options. In addition, microbreweries have been steadily opening all over town over the past few years. In fact, our very own Right Brain Brewery boasts the title of one of 2013’s Top 5 Local Breweries in the Nation via Answers.com. If craft beer isn’t your thing, we have one of Michigan’s best wine trails: over 30 award-winning wineries stretching across two beautiful different peninsulas.

Traverse City is known for our abundance of festivals, which occur all year round. While most people are aware of the National Cherry Festival (Traverse City is the “Cherry Capital of the World”), the area is also home to many wine and food festivals, Horse Shows by the Bay, a comedy festival featuring some of the nation’s top comedians, and even Michael Moore’s Traverse City Film Festival. It is pretty much impossible to not snag a ticket for something going on almost every weekend.

While most tourist-related events take place during the warm, beautiful summer months, such as hiking the Nationally-acclaimed Sleeping Bear Dunes, hitting one of our stunning beaches, or biking the TART Trail, there is still an abundance of things to do in the colder winters. Yes, truthfully some winters are extreme, but for the most part, as long as you are bundled-up properly, you are able to participate in some outdoor recreation. We have numerous downhill ski-hills, great opportunities to snowshoe or cross country ski through back country trails surrounded by snow-covered trees, and even a Winter Festival.

Traverse City sunset over West Bay.

Traverse City sunset over West Bay.

Some who are less familiar with the area may still be thinking that it is too small and remote to be considered a great place to work. On the contrary, Traverse City is thriving. The Cherry Capital Airport, which allows residents to catch a quick flight to both Detroit and Chicago and arrive in only an hour, rapidly growing business community, and  all things already mentioned, it’s hard to name many reasons that anyone wouldn’t want to work here. As a bonus, having this view from your office doesn’t hurt.

To find out more about Traverse City, you can visit the Traverse City Website. Interested in finding out more about RF System Lab? Visit the RF System Lab website here.