Chambers, Noll, Gravely “kids” meet in TX.

John Noll likely knew Robert Chambers although they flew different aircraft and their responsibilities were different. And Saunie Gravely undoubtedly knew both of them, despite the hectic, scattered nature of getting Veterans Air off the ground – literally and figuratively. Back in 1945 the cadre of men joining Gravely to found the air line was small enough – and their importance to the organization large enough – that he surely made their acquaintances. More likely, he had been directly instrumental in hiring them.

Who knew whom? Flew with whom? And when?

List of Veterans Air crew on US Customs and Immigrations manifest.

But, mostly, five extremely valuable crew manifests for United Nations post-war flights by Veterans Air to Prague, Warsaw and Athens tell us who knew whom and when within the company.

Yet, there is no doubt that, on June 9 this year, the second-generation of our 1945 Veterans Air Express families gathered just north of Dallas and got to know each other. John Noll’s daughter, Buffy. Robert Chambers’ eldest son, Bob. Saunie Gravely’s only daughter, Gaye Lyn.

Pizza, Anyone?

With an enticing invite for homemade, specially-crafted pizza, a gathering was planned. Buffy Noll and her husband Jack Wimmer graciously volunteered to host this second Veterans Air Dallas gathering.* Then as now new, introductions are made. Buffy and Jack had never met Bob and Diana Chambers. Nor had I. But I had already met Bruce Chambers and Barbara (Chambers) Morrison, two of Robert and Janet Chambers’ four “kids.” Plus Robert’s granddaughter, Rachel. (Bill Chambers, be thee forewarned! You are next on my Chambers Family list!)

Just hours before Bob and Diana picked me at the RV park to go to dinner, Mother Nature swept through the area, dumped tankers of rain, tore out trees and knocked out a huge swath of electricity. There would be no pizza ovens baking in the Noll-Wimmer house that night!

No electricity? No problem! Resourceful as our Dads before us, we merely & unanimously dispatched Jack to the local pizzeria! 🙂 (Thanks, Jack!)
Seated at their patio table at opposite ends, Buffy Noll and Jack Wimmer host Bob and Diana Chambers.
Becoming friends. Gathering on Buffy Noll and Jack Wimmer’s patio are Bob and Diana Chambers (center).

We told our Dads’ stories…and our own.

Commercially made pizza? Really? Well, we missed out (this time) on Buffy and Jack’s legendary pizza, but we got the best of what we came for — camaraderie and laughter aplenty. We swapped our Dads’ stories. We got acquainted. (Plus…the pizza was A.O.K!) What fun!

This was yet another improbable event — to look around the table and absorb the connections of the people sitting there. Son and daughters making friendships because 70 years earlier their Fathers joined forces to make my Dad’s dream of an all-veterans air service come true.

Seated under a patio umbrella from Buffy, Gaye Lyn, Jack and Bob.
The “kids.” Happy gathering of Veterans Air second-generation. Buffy Noll, Gaye Lyn, son-in-law Jack, and Bob Chambers (l-to-r)

Buffy said it best. “Our dads are watching all this … with joy and pride.”


Lois Lane Girl Reporter skills… MIA.

I took not a single note the entire time we were together in TX. UGH! So, after the trip, Buffy Noll and Bob Chambers agreed to telephone interviews. Better late than never! Come get personal insight into Chambers and Noll.


2 Comments
  1. Oh! Al, I’m laughing out loud. Don’t tempt me!!! There is a turned-up nose DC-3 in the Delta Flight Museum (Atlanta) that makes my heart pound! All silver and shiny (with a logo similar enough to ours that if you squint just right and turn your head just a little…!) I do go on!!!!

  2. Sorry I wasn’t there to meet everyone and participate in the story-telling. If there was only a non-sched operating which could have flown me Dallas in a DC-3…

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