Charles F. Eason, Sr. — our first, non-pilot Veterans Air Express founder.
Charles Francis Eason, Sr. is the first non-pilot Veterans Air Express founder that I’ve discovered. Actually, I found a special family of three surviving sons. Sadly, Charles, Sr. died in 2006 and Charles, Jr. just last year.
I’ve yet to compose an “elevator speech” introducing why I’m calling and who I am for when I call people about Veterans Air. But a man named Peter Eason returned one of my disjointed phone messages last week. He confirmed that he was, indeed, the youngest son of Charles Eason, Sr. He was extremely surprised to hear from me. And he was soooo curious and enthusiastic about my project. After our lively conversation, Peter emailed his brothers Paul and David about me. And Paul emailed me back. Paul and I now plan to meet for a drink when he visits my home town end of July! (What are the chances????)
Between Peter and Paul, I’m convinced that their Dad, non-pilot Charles, Sr., adds real intrigue and maybe even some mystery to my research. Here’s why…
“What did you do in the war, Dad?”
Naturally curious kids ask their dads and moms about what they did in the war. First, Second, Korean, Viet Nam. Eason’s answer to that question generated a unanimous groan from his four sons. “But, Dad, it was 40 years ago!” And years later, “But, Dad, it has been 60 years since the war ended. You can tell us now, can’t you??!! We certainly won’t tell anyone.”
But Dad certainly never did tell. Why? Because “they” told Charles, Sr. “not to tell.” You see, during World War II he served in the China-Burma-India theatre attached to the Office of Strategic Services, the forerunner to the modern-day Central Intelligence Agency. And an oath is an oath.
Peter describes his Dad as a very private man — to the extent that Peter never even knew his Dad helped found an airline.
“I learned about it when I read his obituary in 2006,” Peter told me during our first phone conversation. Evidently, Charles, Jr. and their Mother, Eleanor, were the sentinels of that chapter in Charles Eason’s life. Otherwise, in his distinguished career, he was an attorney with the War Department before he entered Army service in 1943. And, after a few post-war assignments in India, his legislative, litigation & consulting careers centered on the nuclear industry, including the Atomic Energy Commission. For those positions, he was publicly well known and well respected.
Peter told me that it was close to the end of his Dad’s life when he shared the airline story with their oldest brother. From that, Peter conjectures that “the airline must have meant something to Dad. Enough that he wanted it captured among his memories.”
Now, I’m involved. If Peter and his brothers wondered out loud together what role Charles played at Veterans Air Express, you can imagine my curiosity. We may never know. Or, perhaps, the next Veterans Air Express family I discover will say, “Oh, Charles Eason? Yes, we know what he did. Our Dad work alongside him!” Here’s hoping!