Pictures assocoiated with Feature Story of June 1, 2008
Submitted by Ethel Neilson
TWA’s Intercontinental Division logged its most illustrious honors last month when the Army selected its personnel to fly President Roosevelt more than 6,500 miles over Air Transport Command routes on his precedent shattering visit to Casablanca.
Captain Otis Bryan, general manager of the division, was at the controls of the big 4-engine Douglas C-54 Army transport which flew the President, Mr. Harry Hopkins and other members of the Presidential party on several legs of the trip on both sides of the Atlantic, With him was regular TWA crew. Acting as escort plane was a second C-54 under command of Capt. Don Terry, 14,000-hour TWA veteran.
Details of the historic flight were revealed by Captains Bryan and Terry at a War Department Press conference held in the Pentagon Building in Washington earlier this month.
So through were the security measures taken by the White House, War and Navy Departments and the Army Air Corps Transport Command that the flight crews were unaware of what was afoot until President Roosevelt stepped aboard the plane at Bathurst, Gambia, in Africa.
“To say that the crew was amazed is putting it very mildly indeed,” Captain Bryan told reporters. “The President quickly put at ease by his cheerfulness and good nature so there was no tension or nervousness on our part when the flights go under way.”
From Bathurst, Captain Bryan flew the Presidential Party to Casablanca, following a carefully laid-out flight plan. In all phases of this and subsequent flights, a similar plan was followed as through it were a routine Intercontinental operation.
Following the historic meeting between Mr. Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill at Casablanca, Captain, Bryan flew the President to Bathurst, and on south to Monrovia, Liberia, for a brief inspection tour of the Firestone Rubber Plantation. At Bathurst, the President reviewed a regiment of British-drilled Nigerian troops.
These troops sang native songs in what was one of the most impressive performances I have ever seen,” Captain Bryan added. He said the President was in high good humor when he returned from his motor tour in Monrovia and joked about his personal appearance.”
His face was about the color of that,” the pilot laughed, pointing at a mahogany table.
After returning the party to Bathurst, Captain Bryan crossed the South Atlantic to Natal, passing enroute the clipper on which the President was aboard. Mr. Roosevelt rejoined the Bryan flight at Natal and flew to Trinidad, whence he again continued by clipper to Miami.
The entire trip was uneventful according to Captain Bryan who described the President as an “excellent air traveler.”
Captain Bryan praised the TWA ground crews for contributing to the success of the special flight. “These boys,” he said “did a marvelous job in helping us accomplish this mission without a single hitch.
Man of the Three C’s War Pilot of Ill-fated Flight
Capt. Ben Dally, Jr known in TWA as the man of the three C’s because he had successively been courier, co-pilot and captain, was among the casualties when a four- engine transport (not a Stratoliner) operated by TWA for the AAF Air Transport Command, crashed last month near the coast of Dutch Guiana, South America. He was captain of the crew.
Ben Dally’s career in aviation began back in 1929 in the era before night travel. Fresh out of Westminster College, Fulton, Mo., he got his first job as a courier with TAT, predecessor company to TWA, riding with the airline passangers in trains overnight after they were taken from planes at dusk each day. When TWA established coast – to – coast passenger flights the courier became a baggage handler.
Association with pilots on the line bred a desire to fly. Early in 1931 he left the airline to train with the Army Air Corps at Kelly Field. A year later he received his wings, a second lieutenant commission and was stationed at Scott Field, Ill.
In June, 1935, he turned to commercial airlines again and was checked out as a co-pilot for TWA.
Later, after he had gotten his two full stripes as a captain and was made flight superintendent of the Chicago division office he the Chicago division office he continued to fly regularly. Last September he went with TWA’s Intercontinental division at Washington.
Maj. Gen. Harold L. George, Commanding General of the ATC, in commenting on the accident pointed out that as larger aircraft come into service on the global routes of the ATC, individual mishaps probably will involve larger numbers of persons. “Percentage wise,’ he stated, “our accident rate is extremely low.
There were no survivors of the crash at New Guiana. Intercontinental Division members of the crew included, Theodore M. Wagner, first officer; Everett Lee Bacon, second office; Jason E. Voss, first navigator; Clyde E. Quisenberry, flight engineer; Leonard LaFrank and Leo J. Moriarity, first and second radio operators; …Dempf, flight purser.
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