Core founder John W. Greenleaf, Sr. discovered by the “III”

Web browsing grandson asks dad if this is grandfather’s stories

Veterans Air Express John W. Greenleaf, Sr., with his WWII P-51 "warbird."
John W. Greenleaf, Sr. was a P-51 fighter pilot in World War II. And probably one of the reasons he didn’t fly Veterans Air DC-3’s or DC-4’s. Neither passengers nor cargo would have appreciated the G-Forces John customarily pulled.

Please welcome both John W. Greenleaf, Jr. and John W. Greenleaf, III. They are the son and grandson of John W. Greenleaf, Sr.

Double the pleasure and excitement being contacted by both men as the result of John’s grandson googling his own name!  And up popped reference to my Veterans Air Express research project. So they’ve discovered us via THIS WEBSITE!!!!

John, Sr., to my knowledge from AIR TRANSPORT June 1946, was General Manager of Veterans Air Express.  Still more research needed to verify that.  And, as usual, to cobble together his story from John, Jr.’s memories and maybe some memorabilia.

Group photo of Veterans Air Express original founders from a feature story in the 1946 April issue of AIR TRAILS PICTORIAL.
The handsome guys of Veterans Air Express. John W. Greenleaf, Sr. is #3 from our left. Positive I.D. by his grandson.

Just today, John, Jr. contacted me again.  He believes his Dad is in the Veterans Air “group photo” which appeared in my Post yesterday.  (Once, again, I must say…See how this works!!??)  I’ll email him a larger format image…but he thinks John Greenleaf is #7 from the right — tan coat, striped tie, no hat.  In case you haven’t seen the photo…here it is.  Click for a larger version.  UPDATE: But grandson John III prevailed in identifying John Greenleaf as #8 from the right (#3 from the left) in hat & dark scarf.

Read John, Jr.’s two Comments below which he left on

John W. Greenleaf, Sr., while still serving in World War II.
John W. Greenleaf. (I feel safer knowing this young man was protecting us…well, a little bit before I was born…but safer, nonetheless.)

Just became aware of this web site yesterday and I am excited to learn more about the history of V.A.E. I grew up with stories from my Dad about the startup of the company, and I believe he was there from 1945 until 1946 or 1947. In addition to working for Veterans Air Express, he also flew P-51’s for the NJ Air National Guard, which was also located at Newark Airport until it moved to McGuire AFB in the late 1950’s.

Biographical Info: My father, John W Greenleaf, was, I believe, one of the original members of Veterans Air Express and is listed as General Manager. He was a WW II P-51 pilot and lived in Secaucus, NJ. He continued to fly fighters in the NJ Air National Guard until the late 50’s. He passed away in 2011 at age 92, but he had often spoken about V.A.E. when my brother and I were kids. I have so far located one piece of V.A.E. info, an application to the Civil Aeronautics Board for approval to engage in air cargo operations over multiple worldwide routes (with routes plotted on a map). [This website Comment is dated July 28, 2015]

NOTE to my Readers:

This contact, as you see above, occurred July 28th.  Boy! am I late posting!  In addition to today, John, Jr. and I have had two great phone conversations.  And there have been many emails with data attachments between the three of us.  So there is much more to come.

6 thoughts on “Core founder John W. Greenleaf, Sr. discovered by the “III””

  1. John Greenleaf, Jr

    My son definitely has sharper eyes than I do. After studying the larger picture, we agree that John, Sr. is 3rd from the left. Like most guys, he stopped wearing a hat in the 50’s, so it is rare to see a pic of him with his head covered.

    Were you able to do anything with the CAB application I sent you?

    1. Gaye Lyn Gravely

      Terrific. Really delighted he is in the photo! I think I may “stick” the photo at the top of the website with an appropriate story. Let’s see if we can get others identified.

      John, I’m so far behind…I have not yet had a chance to pursue the CAB app. Please know I value what you found and WILL act on it. Unrelated Veterans Air “life” has been happening all around me. Keep coming back. And, please, keep looking for other “clues.” For now, I’m jazzed your Dad is in the photo. That’s the kind of discovery that makes me want to stop the rest of my world and devote full time to this!!

    2. Gaye Lyn Gravely

      John, I’ve just reviewed the Veterans Air Express CAB Application again. First…Wow! It really is extensive & impressive. I will put excerpts of it on the site — including the route map. Second…remind me again where you “found” this document. Having no date is crazy-making for me. It refers to VAE already having DC-3’s and DC-4’s but that is not much of a timeframe clue. Wondering if they needed this approved before flying the UNRRA relief flights to Warsaw & Prague and the Athens flight. There’s another reason the progression and/or approval of this is very important…subject for more research & another story.

      1. John Greenleaf, Jr

        Gaye, found it in a box of Dad’s Air Force and NJ Air National Guard paperwork. Will continue to sift through it and see if I can find any other reference to Veteran’s

  2. John Greenleaf, Jr

    Gaye, after looking at the larger – scale pic, I am fairly certain that the #7 from the right is NOT Dad. My son thinks he is the 3rd from the left, in the overcoat with dark scarf and hat. We’ll have to have more discussion about that, but John III might have it right and I had it wrong.

    1. Gaye Lyn Gravely

      John, any further discussions? I think your son may be correct. The man you first thought might be your Dad has a very square jaw. Really curious.

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