The new stamp honoring 100 years of U.S. Air Mail Service
President Woodrow Wilson was on hand for the first U.S. Air Mail flight
Charles Lindbergh was an air mail pilot
Air Mail service became available in Corpus Christi in the early 1930s
CORPUS CHRISTI -
Today is the 100th anniversary of the U.S. Air Mail Service, and the postal service is celebrating with a new 'forever' stamp that honors the pioneer air mail carriers. The first-day-of-issue ceremony was held earlier this month at the Smithsonian National Postal Museum. Elliot Gruber, the museum director, said, "It's hard to imagine that it has been almost 100 years since the first air mail flights began. I don't think anybody could have imagined the significance of those flights would have on the future of air travel."
The bright blue stamp features a Curtis "Jenny" biplane just like the 6 aircraft that were used on the very first flight on May 15th, 1918. That first mail run was 218 miles from Washington, D.C. to New York City. President Woodrow Wilson was on hand to watch the inaugural take off from the Washington polo grounds.
But it didn't quite go as planned. The first pilot to take off got turned around and flew south to Maryland. He made a hard landing there and broke the propeller on the plane, so his sack of mail had to be trucked back to Washington.
Army pilots flew the mail for the first 4 months until specially built aircraft were purchased and the postal service started hiring civilian pilots. By 1926 air mail routes ran cross country from Boston to San Francisco. Charles Lindbergh was an air mail pilot, before he became famous as the first man to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.
Air mail finally included Corpus Christi in the 1930s, after the city built Cliff Maus Airport out off Old Brownsville Road in the late 1920's. And it's hard to believe that's now been close to 100 years ago.
The new stamp can be viewed and purchased online at http://usps.com, or by calling toll-free at 1-800 STAMP-24.