Veterans Air Express information

Some Veterans Air Express information needs verification.

I “know” things. I have news clippings and verifiable data … like the public offering story in the New York Times Nov 9 1945.  (Inserted here.  Click to enlarge so you can read it!)  NYT-1945-1109-ROOSEVELT-AIDE-IN-POST_Pg34_ProQuestHistNwsprs All providing Veterans Air Express information — and info on the affiliated company, Veterans Air Line.

But what I “know” sometimes has offsetting information. With totally conflicting dates or data. Or it comes as second- or third-hand stories with no references and no footnotes. “Facts” at odds with other “facts.”   They constantly pull me into further research.

Veterans Air DC-4 christening

This aircraft christening photo is a perfect example.

Two things:  I was confused by the photo caption identifying this aircraft as a C-56. (I looked it up and determined a C-56 is a Lockheed Lodestar.)

Opal Harris christens Veterans Air Express DC-4 with bottle of orange juice in Sebring FL in July 1946

CAPTION: Mrs. Opal Harris breaks a bottle of orange juice christening a C-56 cargo plane for Veterans’ Airlines, June 1946. PHOTO CREDIT: Highlands County News, 5/9/1946, Sebring FL.

Not likely my Dad’s crews would have flown both Douglas and Lockheed equipment.  I was rescued by Peter Riool who identified the orange-juice-drenched airplane as a C-54 Douglas DC-4.  Simple: The caption contained a “typo.”  [Poor baby plane; no champagne.  But a true Floridian!]

The second issue, which I have yet to work out, are the conflicting dates — christened in June 1945; photo run in May 9 1946 issue of the paper.  All kinds of rubrics possibilities here.

“More” needed

As a result of many such vagaries, I’ve decided I need three things.  (Just three?)

  1. To release more of my research on this site –  both known and questionable – in hopes of  triggering verification or challenges or discussion by some of you.
  2. To find more of you who are qualified to verify, challenge & discuss…those more knowledgeable about the goings on, and the players, and the aviation enterprises that existed during 1945-1949* when my Dad and his band of merry cohorts were at work.  [*1949 itself is under close study.  Is it the end date for Veterans?  I’d always thought that was more like 1947.  But various sources either disagree or don’t know — the later currently includes me.]
  3. To engage on the blogs, websites and with aviation media that can help in spreading the word about my research project.

I am always open to your input.  And I also thank the many of you who have already surfaced to help me.  From many different directions.  The aviation buffs.  The aviation writers.  The librarians…bless their hearts!  And especially the Veterans Air families…numbering a precious three right now with, hopefully, more to come!


 

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Then & There…

A RECOMMENDED READ and irreplaceable for me: "Memories of the Jing Bao & Beyond," Authors Choice Press, 2001. Written by our own JACK Z. STETTNER - Veterans Air Express Co-Founder, Investor, Pilot and Operations Manager. As well as his considerable WWII experiences, Jack's book revealed new details about Veterans Air Express...plus the spirit and character of this organization that Jack obviously loved!