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1945 Veterans Air Express crew list grows from 22 to 62

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In April 2015, my list of men who flew, crewed and managed my Dad’s airline was 22. Today, it’s 62 and includes three women! I’ve added 12 families to my own family along the way, shedding tears of joy and amazement. And I am indescribably motivated to find other 90-somethings (aka Nonagenarians) to share with the three I’ve already met. Photos of a small cadre of the men and women I seek are captured in this story. Come see if you recognize any of them!!!???

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Veterans Air Express Prague 1946

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My Dad’s 1945 airline won a war-relief contract with the UNRRA. His crews flew five DC-4 trips, each loaded with 5 tons of hatching eggs to Prague and Warsaw. Seventy years later, to commemorate the Veterans Air Express Prague flight in May 1946, I am going to Prague.

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Chief Pilot Robert Chambers

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A new treasure…a photo of Robert C. Chambers standing with our first DC-3 in 1945 while she still looked like the government surplus Army C-47 she had been. And breaking news…Chambers was the DC-3 Chief Pilot with Veterans! Bet you didn’t know that! I didn’t before today. Come see.

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Robert C. Chambers – Veterans Air Express

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I found the family of Veterans Air Express Robert C. Chambers this morning. Various research sources depicting his association with my Dad’s air line pointed me toward the family. Come read the story.

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Veterans Air Express Navigator Edward Martz

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Veterans Air Express Navigator Edward Martz regaled me with stories I have not heard before. In our face-to-face meeting last month in New Jersey, Ed Martz shared vivid memories from his 1946 flights behind the Iron Curtain. You don’t want to miss the full story!

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Meet Veterans Air Express Flight Engineer Thomas Cowart. I did!

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In 1942 & ’43 the Army Air Corps turned Thomas E. Cowart from a farm boy into an aircraft mechanic and later a flight engineer. He flew the world as part of an Air Transport group led by Captain Cooper Walker. And after the war, Walker encouraged Cowart to join him at Veterans Air Express and fly the world again. Thomas tells me his vivid-memory story. Come meet him.

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1946 Veterans Air Express crew

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(POST UPDATE 9/19/2016: Constantine J. Keloss (Kaless) just identified in 1946 Veterans Air photo.) On 10 November 2015, I launched my second-ever “road trip” to meet crew members. The result? Face-to-face meetings and first-hand details from 1946 Veterans Air Express crew: flight engineer Thomas Cowart and navigator Ed Martz. Plus I received grand old photos taken by VAE pilot Richard Broughton. Come see.

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Broughton, Martz, Cowart: Veterans Air Express Breaking News

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Look who I found!! Two sons, Craig & Robert, of 1945 1st Officer Richard Broughton. And two original crew members, Edward Martz, navigator, living in NJ and Thomas Cowart, flight engineer, living in SC. They ALL flew multiple trips for the Veterans Air Express United Nations war relief contract to Prague, Warsaw and Athens. It’s intriguing! And I am psyched!

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Cocktails with Paul Eason, son of Veterans Air Express Charles Eason, Sr.

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His Dad helped my Dad found Veterans Air Express in 1945. And across those 70 years, Charles Eason, Sr. & Saunie Gravely “introduced” their son & daughter in 2015, over Margaritas at sunset in Santa Fe to compare notes on their non-sked cargo & passenger airline. Come meet Paul Eason & his son Evan.

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Veterans Air CAB application

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Veterans Air Express prepared a Civil Aeronautics Board route application – for authority to engage in permanent, scheduled service, worldwide. The document & accompanying, impressive route map, were saved by John Greenleaf, Sr., a founding member of the 1945 company. He kept a copy among his papers. It’s a revelation of the hopes & intentions of these Vets & their investors.

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Contact Gaye Lyn

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Then & There…

A RECOMMENDED READ and irreplaceable for me: "Memories of the Jing Bao & Beyond," Authors Choice Press, 2001. Written by our own JACK Z. STETTNER - Veterans Air Express Co-Founder, Investor, Pilot and Operations Manager. As well as his considerable WWII experiences, Jack's book revealed new details about Veterans Air Express...plus the spirit and character of this organization that Jack obviously loved!