Takes no time to fall happily into laughter, banter and sweet reminiscences when I’m with the “daughters Cowart.” It’s day 16 and 2,822 miles into my Veterans Air family RV trip. I’ve arrived in South Carolina, home of Angie and Joy, daughters of 1946 Veterans Air DC-4 Flight Engineer Thomas E. Cowart. They are a hoot, don’tcha know!
Research begins again for the1945 Veterans Air crews and non-flight personnel who helped Saunie Gravely, my Dad, establish the air line. While still in pursuit of undiscovered families, my current adventure takes me across the country to meet a few of the families I’ve located since April 2015. Come read about my new venture and meet Gracie, my magic “carpet.”
You know what? This is tough business, emotionally precarious – doing Veterans Air Express research. It’s full of adventure. But it’s also inextricably tied to passing of time and loosing “loves” that I find in the men who joined my Dad’s dream. They built an air line in 1945 that rattled the big boys – Pan Am, TWA, American. These were brave guys, full of bravado and determination. Like Michael Frome. Come read about him again, or for the first time.
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.
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.
(POST UPDATE 9/19/2016: Constantine J. Keloss (Kaless) just identified in 1946 Veterans Air photo.) On 10 November 2015, I launched my second-ever “road trip” to meet crew members. The result? Face-to-face meetings and first-hand details from 1946 Veterans Air Express crew: flight engineer Thomas Cowart and navigator Ed Martz. Plus I received grand old photos taken by VAE pilot Richard Broughton. Come see.