Robert C. Chambers early DC-3 Chief Pilot.

Robert Chambers fills early role as DC-3 Chief Pilot.

Chief Pilot Robert Chambers in 1945 with the government surplus DC-3 just acquired by Veterans Air Express.
Pilot Robert Chambers stands under the “turned-up nose” of the first of three Veterans Air Express DC-3s. He became Chief Pilot of the fleet.

Look at this.

THE BEFORE:  Pilot Robert Chambers was already hired on by Veterans Air Express before our first DC-3 was delivered. Chief Pilot of the fleet, Robert was instrumental in coordinating the delivery of the company’s three DC-3s from the U. S. government and their conversion to company livery.

I am excited to share this photo with you.  Robert’s son Bruce sent it to me today after our second phone conversation in four days.

THE AFTER:  The same DC-3, “de-militarized” and sporting Veterans‘ livery – with my name GAYE LYN.  That’s Robert Montanarella waving from the left seat. He was Veterans’ first crew hire.

Pilot Robert Montanarella waves from the Veterans Air Express DC-3 GAYE LYN.
Pilot Robert Montanarella in Veterans Air Express DC-3 GAYE LYN.

The two Roberts together.  Hooah!

We’re closing in on this group.  Who do you know???

1946 Veterans Air Express Group Photo
Montanarella and Chambers at cargo door. Standing (L-R) are five others I’ve identified: Stevenson, Greenleaf, Gravely, Stettner, and Noll. Six more to go!!! Photo Credit: Air Trails Pictorial, April 1946.

Bruce Chambers confirmed I correctly identified his Dad, Robert, in this group photo.  An article in the  Newark Evening News made me suspect it was Chambers standing at the open cargo door with another crewman named Robert — Robert Montanarella — because the two piloted the DC-3 together.

6 thoughts on “Robert C. Chambers early DC-3 Chief Pilot.”

  1. david mitchell

    Ok. It was worth a shot. Thanks for the quick response. I’m hoping to put a small memorial stone at the Trenton Air Force Museum in Ontario for this pilot but can’t find any info on him. He was last seen at my father’s funeral in 1988 so good chance he has departed by now. Trying to get his hometown and birth year but privacy laws here are having unintended consequences in this case. The rest of the crew is long gone as are most WW2 vets now so I’ll have to keep searching. All the best.

    1. David, I deeply apologize for not having seen your response when you wrote it. Any luck in finding “your” Robert Chambers? Do you have access to a military public information database like the U.S. National Archives. It has been invaluable to me as one of my sources. I tried looking there for you, but of course there was no record. Ya never know. Your endeavor is worthwhile and touching. I wish you successful research. My best.

  2. Bruce Chambers

    My father, Robert Chambers, flew in the 9th Air Force, 410th Bomb Group. He was 22/23 years old, but he is not Robbie Chambers. Dad flew A-20 attack bombers over Germany. He flew in late 1944 through end of war in Europe in 1945.
    The name Chambers is a good English name so I am not surprised there was another one. In fact Dad’s paternal grandparents came from Stornoway,Scotland.

    Bruce Chambers

    1. Morning, Bruce. Thanks so much for your reply.

      There you have it, David, straight from the family. Bruce has been a huge help to me in pulling the story of Veterans Air together. Thanks to Robert Chambers for keeping and protecting many operational records and to the family for newspaper clippings, we know a lot more about the air line.

      Again, thanks for visiting our website. We welcome you back anytime.
      Gaye Lyn

  3. Gaye Pollitt

    David, thanks so much for visiting our website. To my knowledge and from my notes, during WWII Robert Chambers served in the U.S. 9th Air Force E.T.O. But let’s ask the family. I’ll bring his son, Bruce, into the conversation. Check back soon. Thanks, again. Regards, Gaye Lyn

  4. david mitchell

    My father flew in the RCAF WW2 with a pilot F/O Robbie Chambers who didn’t see active duty till March 1945 when he was 22/23 years old. They flew 10 or 12 missions into Germany in Lancasters. Is it the same guy?

    thanks, david mitchell Toronto

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