One bewildering, unfamiliar U. S. Immigrations Crew Manifest surfaced in Ancestry. There were others.
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.
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!
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.
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.
I am beyond honored to get better acquainted with the men and women who made my Dad’s 1945 airline “happen” by meeting their family members. Come meet these very special people in a photo review of my second 2017 trip visiting Veterans Air Express families. This extraordinary RV trek took 37 days and 4,874 miles to VA, MD, PA and NJ.