Military museum planning on guest speakers, anniversary events

By: Kevin Bunch | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published August 13, 2014

EASTPOINTE — As the summer break from guest speakers and other events comes to an end, the Michigan Military & Technical Museum in Eastpointe is readying itself for the fall season of programs.

Chris Causley, president of the Michigan Military & Technical Society, said they are planning the monthly World War II Roundtable discussions at the moment. The first one, set for 4 p.m. Sept. 6, is the “Submariner’s Tale,” presented by Frank Marczak, associated director of the USS Silversides Museum in Muskegon.

Causley said Marczak will be talking about submarine warfare, and the preview blurb for the talk adds he will be speaking on the accomplishments and challenges of two specific submarines during the war.

Causley said the museum has not picked a specific topic for October’s talk yet, but November’s will feature a local woman who served as a secretary at the Nuremburg war crimes tribunals following the war, as long as her “health remains good.”

“We are still looking at topics for the remaining WWII (roundtables),” Causley said. “It is getting harder to get WWII vets to speak, and we will eventually have to move to just having authors and historians speak, but we will keep having firsthand speakers as long as they are willing and able.”

Steve Mrozek, member of the World War II Roundtable of Detroit that co-runs the events, told the Eastsider in January that similar roundtables throughout the country usually feature historians, veterans and authors talking about a variety of aspects regarding that period in world history.

“We have made an effort to provide a balance in regards to the topics and have been open to suggestions,” Mrozek said. “The Michigan Military Museum in Eastpointe has been a logical location for the programs essentially because of the historical emphasis and purpose.”

The museum is hosting an all-day program Oct. 25 on how to get started in World War II re-enacting, with a panel of local enthusiasts on hand to answer questions on their hobby.

For the centennial anniversary of World War I, Causley said the museum is looking to host Macomb County author Dan Heaton for a presentation at 2 p.m. Oct. 19. It would be about a Michigan man who flew in World War I as part of the Lafayette Escadrille, ultimately becoming the first American killed while involved in aerial combat.

Heaton also will talk about activity at Michigan’s Selfridge Air National Guard base, established less than 90 days after the U.S. declared war on Germany in 1917.

“We are looking at a few other events to coincide with the 100th anniversary of WWI, and also working to get some speakers to talk about the ‘modern wars,’” Causley said. “But nothing has been locked in, as of yet.”

Heaton is scheduled to return in January for a program on Michigan’s response to the Cold War, including surface-to-air missile batteries around Detroit and soldiers mustering at the then-100-year-old Fort Wayne.

Causley said the museum also would be tweaking its current exhibits in time for its anniversary Nov. 9 and is working on fundraising and possibly getting grants to move its archives, upgrade the computer system, and make space for a new exhibit gallery in the spring.

The museum is located at 16600 Stephens, with a typical adult admission fee of $5 — though for the roundtable talks, it is based entirely on donations. For more information, call the museum at (586) 872-2581.