Saunie Gravely

New information invaluable to 2017 research as 1946 Veterans Air Line images and clippings surface

Saunie Gravely

Founder, Pilot, Entrepreneur

A spectacular batch of 1946 Veterans Air Line images and press clippings ignited lively conversation. I was in Florida to meet Craig Broughton and his wife Carol. And to learn more about Craig’s dad, Richard Broughton., who was one of my Dad’s DC-4 pilots for the UNRRA. Dick flew four of our post-war relief deliveries to Warsaw, Prague and Athens in 1946. Don’t miss this story.

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Prague Veterans Air crew arrives 1946

Saunie Gravely

Founder, Pilot, Entrepreneur

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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Veterans Air Express research trip

Saunie Gravely

Founder, Pilot, Entrepreneur

Never ever dreamed I’d go to Prague. But I did, last month. And researched my Dad’s Veterans Air Express post-WWII deliveries for UNRRA of hatching eggs. I’m now a card-carrying member of… well, you’ll just have to Read More to find out.

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1945 Veterans Air Express crew list grows from 22 to 62

Saunie Gravely

Founder, Pilot, Entrepreneur

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

Saunie Gravely

Founder, Pilot, Entrepreneur

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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Veterans Air Express Navigator Edward Martz

Saunie Gravely

Founder, Pilot, Entrepreneur

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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1946 Veterans Air Express crew

Saunie Gravely

Founder, Pilot, Entrepreneur

(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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1946 Veterans Air Express operations base #2 sets up at Sebring Air Terminal

Saunie Gravely

Founder, Pilot, Entrepreneur

Timing is everything. Veterans Air Express needed a major maintenance and repair facility. And Florida seemed a location ideally suited to their growing cargo and passenger business. Hendricks Field, an AAF Pilot School during WWII in Sebring, FL was being deactivated and transitioned into Sebring Air Terminal. Photos & news clips from archives unfold the story.

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Veterans Air Express contract with UNRRA flown by Stettner, Jakeman, Noll, et al.

Saunie Gravely

Founder, Pilot, Entrepreneur

An “experimental” DC-4. A high-energy group of hardworking ex-servicemen. A Veterans Air Express UNRRA contract for cargo flights behind the iron curtain. And Newark/Miami winter passenger flights. By mid-1946, the all-veterans organization was becoming recognized and starting to thrive.

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Carole Landis christened Veterans DC-4 in 1946

Saunie Gravely

Founder, Pilot, Entrepreneur

Hollywood star Carole Landis christened Veterans Air Line DC-4 on July 24, 1946. The aircraft and attending celebrity Mrs. Gloria Vanderbilt both got champagne-splashed. Still searching for press photo coverage of event.

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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!