Veterans Air flight to Warsaw

Veterans Air flight to Warsaw. 69 years ago today, May 20, 1946. Countless times, Dad told me about the Veterans Air flight to Warsaw – multiple flights actually to both Poland and Czechoslovakia.  The company had won a contract from UNRRA (United Nations Relief & Rehabilitation Administration)

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Bernard Shmanske Veterans Air pilot

Bernard Francis Shmanske, DC-3 pilot, Veterans Air Express, 1945, Newark Airfield, NJ.

This handsome young man is Bernard Francis Shmanske wearing his U.S. Army Air Forces uniform. Bernard entered service when he was 21 years old on 2 September 1942. He completed Flight School Pilot Training in December 1943, served on the pilot training staff, and then flew Martin B26 Maurader twin engine attack bombers.

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

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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Big headline. FLY TO...FLORIDA. Classified ad in Travel Section of New York Times 18 Jan 1946.

DC-3 “Snowbird” flights from Newark to Miami via “The Veterans’ Air Line.” (New York Times classified 18th and 21st January, 1946). And summer vacationers in Cape Cod are lured to relax and fly to the Cape via the “modern” Veterans airliner. (Newark NJ paper display ad, date unknown.)

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Saunie Gravely. Founder, President, Chairman. Meet my Dad!

Saunie Gravely founded an all-veterans commercial air service in 1945 that flew freight and passengers out of Newark Air Depot and Teterboro. Meet my favorite DC-3 named GAYE LYN…that’s me. Read about some of the GIs who helped form & flew for Veterans Air Express and Veterans Air Line.

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Robert Chambers “Running Log” reveals Veterans Air first DC-3 revenue cargo flight

Newspaper clippings and DC-3 Chief Pilot Robert Chambers’ “Pilots Running Log” record the first Veterans Air DC-3 cargo revenue flight on 3 December 1945. Iced, dressed turkeys from Louisville KY to Teterboro NJ were primary cargo destined for Newark and New York City.

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Going public. Veterans Air first stock offering.

First company stock offering signed by Saunie Gravely, Founder, President and Chairman of the Board.

The first stock offering was issued 9 November 1945. The certificate was printed even before the decision that “Veterans” should be part of the official company name. Pride in who they were and in hopes of bettering their chances for attracting business seems to have prompted the idea.

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AAF Vets plan to fly perishable produce

1945 Press coverage about founders of Veterans Air plans to fly perishable produce to their markets.

This September 1945 clipping from Newark Evening News takes the reader behind the scenes from bright idea to Board of Directors to the “mechanics” of a start-up express cargo airline owned and operated by WWII vets and the businessmen who saw great merit in their dream.

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