1st Prague crew returns. 23 April 1946. UNRRA

70 years ago, Broughton and Martz and Cowart were there! Together ! On the same first crew to Prague.

Newspaper story with photo of Veterans Air crew gathered at the open DC-4 cargo door being greeted by a U. S. Immigrations Office on a ladder leaned against the aircraft.
Dick Broughton, Copilot, kneeling far left. Thomas Cowart, Flight Engineer, standing behind Broughton. Ed Martz, Navigation Officer, to Cowart’s left. And Morgan Cooper Walker, Captain, kneeling on right. Eugene Katz, UNRRA Observer in suit/tie. Remainder of crew – as yet, Unidentified.

This photo-feature is captioned CLEARNING CUSTOMS. It ran in The Newark Evening News. Fortunately, it was clipped out by Dick Broughton’s grandmother. She cut off the masthead, but we still know what day the photo was taken, even if we don’t know the exact publication date of the story. While rummaging through Ancestry.com in search of a totally different type of document, I found a Crew Manifest. It reveals the men responsible for the first of three known Veterans Air Line UNRRA flights to Prague. And it gives us the date of their return to Newark Airport — 23 April 1946.

First-hand details & photos from 1946 crew

Two weeks and four days ago today, I launched on my second-ever trip to meet Veterans Air crew members face-to-face. I flew 3,945 air miles and drove 650 land miles — to, from and within New Mexico, South Carolina and New Jersey for some first-hand, unbelievable meet-and-greets with two captivating men. 1946 Veterans Air Line Flight Engineer Thomas Cowart and Navigator Ed Martz. And, during the same time period, I acquired some way-cool Veterans Air photographs via email from Pilot and 1st Officer Dick Broughton’s two sons, Craig and Bob.

Richard Broughton, Pilot for Veterans Air Line, flew as 1st Officer on UNRRA European flights. PHOTO courtesy of Broughton family.
List of Veterans Air crew on US Customs and Immigrations manifest, Athens, August 1946.

These men lived this history with my Dad.

Thomas Cowart, 1946 Flight Engineer for Veterans Air Express. Photo Credit: Cropped from a unidentified press coverage clip.
Edward Martz, Navigation Officer on Veterans Air Express DC-4 in 1946. Photo by Sue Martz.

They were there, making it happen. Sometimes together as part of the same crew. And, now, 70 years later, I was there…in South Carolina listening to Thomas Cowart and in New Jersey listening to Ed Martz tell me about their roles in this great adventure. Thomas’ two daughters, Angie & Joy, are hearing these stories for the first time. So are Ed’s wife Marie and two of their four daughters, Sue and Marie. The information and stories are amazing!

Oh! so much better than my usual solo research…

See how wondrously different this is from visualizing the internet searches I normally conduct by myself!

However…not a natural investigative reporter.

My notes from my trip are only semi-copious and sometimes illegible. And, only a few of any photographs taken were snapped by me! Try as I might, I’m not a natural investigative reporter. I am truly there to meet and share stories. I get involved in listening and absorbing the person – and I forget to write or click. You’ll just have to forgive me for missing some of the facts. But, ah! these faces and the accompanying laughter! I hope I captured even an n-th degree of this to share with you.

Thomas Cowart and Gaye Lyn doing some research together.

Thomas Cowart and Gaye Lyn reviewing VeteransAir.org on the website which chronicles the company’s unfolding research. PHOTO by Angie Cowart.

Edward Martz and Gaye Lyn during her New Jersey visit to meet this man who crewed for her Dad in 1946.

Edward Martz takes a photo-op break with Gaye Lyn from discussing his vivid memories of flights for Veterans Air in 1946. PHOTO by Sue Martz.

Thomas Cowart and daughter Angie Cowart-Cheek on 11 Nov 2015 in South Carolina.

Thomas Cowart sits with daughter Angie in her dining room in front of Gaye Lyn's computer.

PHOTO by Gaye Lyn.

Marie Martz sits with Gaye Lyn during November 2015 visit to Ed & Marie’s home in New Jersey.

Marie Martz hears some stories her husband, Ed, has never told before about his time with Veterans Air. A lasting friendship begins. PHOTO by Sue Martz.

Dear Reader, I never expected such an emotional, rewarding experience when I started my research in late April this year (2015).

Gaye Lyn

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