1943
3 September 1943
Saunie Gravely weds Lydia Amadio
My Mom & Dad, Lydia & Saunie, get married. I am tickled to show you the Saunie-Gravely-weds-Lydia-Amadio announcement in my Mom's hometown newspaper. I stumbled on this clipping today in the Carteret (NJ) Press, September 3, 1943. Isn't this photo beautiful?  It was not part of the newspaper clipping.  But it's certainly part of my treasure trove. Mom & Dad's anniversary was July 5.  So this is a late announcement. It mentions Dad was stationed at Tyndal Field, Panama City, FL.  I had forgotten about their Florida "honeymoon."  As a married soldier, they had off barracks housing -- in a trailer park. One morning after Dad had left for the base, Mom awakened to the trailer rocking vigorously -- left to right, right to left.  She grabbed her robe and, before she had it totally wrapped around herself, she was OUT of the trailer.  Pounding almost hysterically, she bashed on the neighboring trailer door for help.  Fortunately, the man-of-the-trailer was home and went to investigate while my Mother was calmed down by his wife.  My Mother was not amused when he came back laughing.  "What?" she demanded.  "Well, Lydia, it's a family of wild pigs scratching their backs against the bottom of your trailer." That's as far as this story ever got retold, because the accompanying laughter drowned the rest out! Then there was the story of the "gila monster" Mom sucked up into the vacuum cleaner in Phoenix.  But I'll save that for another time.  Let me just say that Saunie Gravely weds Lydia Amadio resulted in much more than an airline adventure named Veterans Air Express and a DC-3 named GAYE LYN.  
1945
13 September 1945
AAF Vets plan to fly perishable produce
9 November 1945
Going public. Veterans Air first stock offering.
Veterans Air first stock offering The stock certificate for the company's first public offering was printed for Air Express Company.  Before it was issued November 9, 1945, as an afterthought, "Veterans" was added to the official name.  Look closely at this certificate belonging to Jack Stettner, an original founder and Veterans pilot and manager.  "V E T E R A N S" is typewritten at top of Veterans Air first stock offering, signed by Nellie Brenner, Secretary Treasurer and Saunie Gravely, President. The story goes that the founders altered the name because they were proud of who they really were.  Plus, they hoped Veterans in their official name might help win cargo contracts with private business -- and the government. (To date, family and historical records on Nellie & Arthur Brenner remain elusive.  They both played such vital, active roles in the founding of Veterans Air, finding information on them would be treasure.)
16 November 1945
Robert Chambers “Running Log” reveals Veterans Air first DC-3 revenue cargo flight
 
27 November 1945
Saunie Gravely. Founder, President, Chairman. Meet my Dad!
Saunie Gravely, President of Veterans Air Express and Veterans Air Line -- and my Dad! He was twenty-two years old - yes, 22 - when he founded an all-veterans commercial air service in 1945. They flew freight and passengers out of Newark Air Depot (NJ) and Teterboro under two names....Veterans Air Express and Veterans Air Line. For easy reference, I call them both Veterans Air. The adventurous troop of mostly men and a few women which my Dad assembled for this endeavor are the object of my research. The DC-3 named GAYE LYN And so is the fleet of military surplus aircraft they purchased. Meet my favorite - the DC-3 named GAYE LYN! Her turned-up nose taxied around hoisting my name within weeks of my birth in November 1945.  That proud Papa is sporting a cigar pointed at the nameplate from the cockpit.  You think this is a treasure for me??? As has happened to so many of us, I didn't know to ask my Dad about his airline when I was a kid. So now, this site will chronicle my efforts and catalog my findings in hopes you know someone or something that I need to know. Freshly discharged from the United States Army Air Corps, I do know Saunie lacked even two nickels to invest. But he met lots of other vets like himself...new pilots needing work and wanting desperately to keep flying. They motivated him and, from what I've read, his enthusiasm did likewise for them. Cargo to Europe & passengers in the US  - 1945 / 1947 His initial "squadron" of veterans helped form, fund, fly and operate the air carrier through 1947. They flew cargo to Europe and passengers between cities up & down the East coast, across the southern States, and along the West coast to...
1946
18 January 1946
FLY FLORIDA & CAPE COD VIA VETERANS
28 March 1946
1946 Veterans Air Express operations base #2 sets up at Sebring Air Terminal
Three telegrams in three days kick off 1946 Veterans Air Express operations base in Florida.         Two months ago (August 2015), I spent several hours with Allen C. Altvater, III -- grandson of the man that my Dad did, indeed, meet with several times over the next months of 1946.  Small world when you explore it!  Allen III was a fabulous host and huge help.  We walked the airport, and he took me to The Sebring Historical Society where we spread out and dug through some documents.  These three telegrams were part of our booty.  Allen sent me home with enough materials that Delta considered recalculating the aircraft weight & balance.  (That's a little aviation humor -- for those who have no idea what I'm talking about!) Veterans and The Eighth to be first tenants Veterans and a second company, The Eighth Air Depot, figured substantially in the City of Sebring's calculations and plans for their airfield start up.(4)  However, the timing and staggered approvals of permanent licensing by the Army of the air field from military to civilian greatly restricted the activities of both companies.  And, ultimately, the delay caused unintended outcomes for both - most especially Veterans.  But I'm getting ahead of my story. Details, details:  Hangars.  Cold storage.  Personnel.  Equipment. Setting up operations required a number of flights to Florida and lining up personnel both locally and back in Newark.  It took a couple months before Veterans began any work. By May 16, 1946 when this photo in front of Veterans Air DC-3 was published, my Dad had flown in for another meeting.  And key personnel were ready for Sebring action.  R. B. Collins, Veterans Air Line Manger.  J. R. Taylor, Assistant Superintendent of Maintenance.  Robert (Bob) Krohm, District Manager. All names found in press...
2015
31 March 2015
WANTED: Veterans Air information or leads.
 Always happy to learn more about our Veterans Air People. If you have any information or leads, please contact me via this page. (more…) →
Timeline August 3, 2017