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 From your editor: The reception to the new News, as youíll see from the correspondence Iíve included in this winter 1999 issue, has been gratifying. Iím especially delighted at the response to our airmailpioneers.org website. Daily, I receive e-mails from people eager to learn about airmail history or curious about relatives who flew for the U.S. Air Mail Service.

As I stated in the summer 1998 number, my goal has been to keep Air Mail history alive. I especially want to attract young people to the thrills of early flight. In line with this, I received the following e-mail:  

My name is Wendy Larson and I am a librarian at Valley View Middle School in Edina, MN. A group of seventh grade students would like to use pictures from your web page in a History Day project to be presented on March 16. The pictures would not be used for commercial purposes.

The Internet has already proved a valuable research tool. This two remarkable shots below arrived via e-mail from David Wettengel of Apex, North Carolina. He wrote that his grandfather, Peter A. Toronto (far right), worked for the U. S. Air Mail Service. (See article "Seeking Information.")

What is wrong with this picture, below?  Taken at about 10,000 feet near Reno, Nevada, Mt. Rose, between 13,000 to 14,000 feet, rises in the background. Air Mail pilot Edison E. Mouton landed safely in a snowstorm. Caption on photo reads: It took four hours to get up to plane on snowshoes and 30 minutes to come down on skis.  Photo courtesy of David Wettengel.

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Belmont Park, 1919. L to R Pilot Randolph G. Page, Walter H. Stevens, Mark A. Hamilton, William G. Henry, Charles H. Anglin, Paul S. Oakes.  (Stevens and Oakes subsequently died in Air Mail plane crashes.)
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. addmach.jpg (12187 bytes) Planning Makes Perfect

Without proper and precise planning, mail would never arrive at the correct destination at the right time. One of the many things Jerry Lederer has done to ensure that the efforts of Air Mail Pioneers will not be forgotten is to establish the Air Mail Pioneers Fund at The San Diego Foundation. Through the Fund we have provided financial assistance to the Smithsonian Institute, National Air and Space Museum, National Postal Museum and the San Diego Aerospace Museum, and most importantly, maintained the Air Mail Pioneers News.

Many of our readers have made contributions to the Fund and because it is a component fund of The San Diego Foundation, all gifts are tax deductible. Thank you to those generous individuals.

Address donations as follows: Air Mail Pioneers Fund, in care of The San Diego Foundation, 1420 Kettner Blvd., Suite 500, San Diego, CA 92101.


     mailbox.gif (1204 bytes)    LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Paul D. Culver, CDR U.S.Navy (Ret) Lake Sherwood, CA 91361 24 July 1998

Dear Nancy,

Congratulations on your super newsletter for the Air Mail Pioneers. It is truly an outstanding piece of work and your treatment of the Skoning question was very well done. I hope your plans for promoting expanded interest in Air Mail history will be successful.

One of the most interesting aspects of establishing the first Air Mail by the Army was the logistic support required with only a few days to prepare. Major Fleet's organizational capability and Lt Culver's engineering expertise played a large part in effectiveness of the operation. I occasionally go through old documents on the subject and will pass copies that may be of interest to you. Original assembly blueprints of the Jennie used by my Father were donated to the San Diego Aerospace Museum some years ago through my friend David Fleet, Rubenís eldest son, and a fine gentleman.

Best wishes and thanks again for breathing new life into the old organization.   Paul.

 Dear Nancy, August 12, 1998

The Air Mail Pioneers News was a delightful surprise. I enjoyed all the new and old news in there and all the pictures. I would like to know how many of the Pioneers are left now. Can you please print it in the news. How old and addresses of these dear people. My husband George was "George of all Trades," for the Air Mail in Maywood, Illinois.

I am enclosing a check to you for keeping the Air Mail News coming to me. I am a widow now. George died in 1987. I am 90 years old.

Bernice Trendel

P.S. The new look of the AMP News was very nice. You done a great job. Keep sending me copies.

Editor's note: responding to Bernice Trendelís request, I wrote the following letter to the people June Schuck, former editor of the News, told me are the original Air Mail Pioneers members. It went out to: Carl E. Anderson, John Bonforte, H. William Cramer, Stover Deats, Leslie A. Frazeur, Ernest A. Johnson, George Weller, Herb Wetenkamp, John Lunsford, Rome Montle, Lawrence T. Murray, Alvin Opsahl, Marshall Orr, Michael Schreck and Charles I. Stanton.

Iím writing to ask you to share your memories of the U.S. Air Mail Service with readers of the Air Mail Pioneers News. As you know, the purpose of the News is to perpetuate the history of the Service and celebrate the contribution its employees made to todayís civil aviation phenomena. Your firsthand recollections of those early days will help us fulfill this goal.

What do you remember about the Service? How about its day-to-day operation? What part did you or your spouse play, whether working in the office, handling administration duties, readying the planes for flight, tending landing fields? I welcome all stories about the pilots and their daring-do and their sacrifices, in fact I welcome all anecdotes. Do you remember the beacons strung along the transcontinental and their upkeep?

If you donít feel like writing, please give me a phone call and Iíll tape your memories. As your new AMP News editor, I want to become acquainted with you.

I look forward to hearing from you and getting to know you.

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