Unexpected connections and poignant moments mark two very different experiences on June’s Veterans Air research trip. Visit Texas and Georgia with me.
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.
Veterans Air Express Navigator Edward Martz regaled me with stories I have not heard before. In our face-to-face meeting last month in New Jersey, Ed Martz shared vivid memories from his 1946 flights behind the Iron Curtain. You don’t want to miss the full story!
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.
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!
Veterans Air Express in September 1946 made aviation & animal husbandry history. The Borden Company had donated a pure-bred American Jersey bull calf and two heifers to help restore Greece’s war-obliterated herds. The cattle were “loaded” into a DC-4 and flown to Athens. The press photo is worth more than a thousand words. Come take a look!