Thomas E. Cowart

Thomas Cowart dies December 20, 2016. Veterans Air Express Flight Engineer

Thomas E. Cowart

Thomas Cowart, our Veterans Air DC-4 Flight Engineer, died on December 20, 2016. He crewed during the 1946 United Nations post-war relief flights to Prague, Warsaw and Athens. Thomas and I shared many hours, many stories and much laughter in person and over the phone. Today I share the immediacy of my emotions at his passing.

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Prague Veterans Air crew arrives 1946

Thomas E. Cowart

A pride hard to verbalize shudders through me every time I see this film footage of my Dad’s crew members disembarking from the Veterans Air Line DC-4 in Prague. Saunie Gravely was 22 when he got the idea of an all-Veterans air service. And this amazing footage is proof of his dream-become-reality. Come watch. Sorry, no popcorn today.

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

Thomas E. Cowart

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

Thomas E. Cowart

(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

Thomas E. Cowart

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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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!