Takes no time to fall happily into laughter, banter and sweet reminiscences when I’m with the “daughters Cowart.” It’s day 16 and 2,822 miles into my Veterans Air family RV trip. I’ve arrived in South Carolina, home of Angie and Joy, daughters of 1946 Veterans Air DC-4 Flight Engineer Thomas E. Cowart. They are a hoot, don’tcha know!
Thomas E. Cowart
Research begins again for the1945 Veterans Air crews and non-flight personnel who helped Saunie Gravely, my Dad, establish the air line. While still in pursuit of undiscovered families, my current adventure takes me across the country to meet a few of the families I’ve located since April 2015. Come read about my new venture and meet Gracie, my magic “carpet.”
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.
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.
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.
(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.
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!