Jammed ten pounds in a five-pound bag…and still had more to share. But I sure had fun telling the Veterans Air Express story at NJ Aviation Hall of Fame last November. I was delighted (and pleasantly stunned) by Executive Director Shea Oakley’s introduction. There’s a YouTube in this post that captures the evening…Dad’s concept, the WWII vets who joined him, a historic UNRRA flight, some conjectures why the airline folded…and more. Give it a look-see.
It is with profound sadness that I write of the passing of Jack Stettner. This man of adventure helped my Dad found the airline in 1945….as co-founder, investor, pilot, and ops-manager And 70 years later welcomed me with open arms into his home. So did his wonderful family. It was my deep honor to know him. God speed, Jack.
I am deeply sad to write this post. Veterans Air has lost a precious member. I have lost a cherished friend. Edward J. Martz, Jr. Veterans Air Express Navigator, died this week. He was 91. I’ll be forever grateful for having met him personally, known his smile, reveled in his stories about his role in my Dad’s airline. God speed, Ed Martz. Say hello to Saunie for me.
In April 2015, my list of men who flew, crewed and managed my Dad’s airline was 22. Today, it’s 62 and includes three women! I’ve added 12 families to my own family along the way, shedding tears of joy and amazement. And I am indescribably motivated to find other 90-somethings (aka Nonagenarians) to share with the three I’ve already met. Photos of a small cadre of the men and women I seek are captured in this story. Come see if you recognize any of them!!!???
I found the family of Veterans Air Express Robert C. Chambers this morning. Various research sources depicting his association with my Dad’s air line pointed me toward the family. Come read the 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.
Here’s how this works. Grandson of Veterans Air Express John W. Greenleaf, Sr. googles his OWN name. And up pops reference to Veterans Air Express. He remembers stories from his Granddad and Father when he was a kid…so he tells his Dad…his Dad contacts me via my website…and we now know more about another member of our 1945 non-sked airline. I’m still grinning! Come read more.