Monday, May 04, 2009

Outside the Box - May

Object: Flight Log, 1938-1944
Collection: Henry Tift Myers, Sr.

Lieutenant Colonel Henry Tift Myers, Sr. was a native of Tifton, Georgia. He attended the University of Georgia, where he was a fullback on the football team and a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon. After receiving his degree in 1929 he entered the Army Air Corps. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, Myers returned to active duty in the Air Transport Command. He was appointed as the first Presidential pilot, and transported Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman around the world in specially-designed airplanes that were the predecessors of the modern Air Force One.

Myers was also tasked with piloting high ranking military officials, visiting royalty, Congressmen, and other VIPs and guests of the United States government. Among his notable passengers were Madame Chiang Kai-shek, Mexican President Miguel Alemán, the King and Queen of Greece, Joseph Stalin and Winston Churchill. Myers was also the holder of a number of air speed and flight distance records; he was the first person to circumnavigate the globe at the equator. As a result of his high profile career, Myers also maintained a modicum of celebrity. He hobnobbed with Hollywood actors and actresses, and was frequently profiled in magazines and newspapers.

Flight Log & Senatorial Tour of War Theatres
In 1943, Myers captained a three month, 45,000-mile flight in a four-engine Liberator called “The Guess Where II.” The flight carried Senator Richard B. Russell and other members of a special Senate subcommittee around the globe for an inspection of combat areas. Myers’ flight log from this time period details the route taken by the Senators on their tour, and the exotic stops along the way: Marrakech, Cairo, New Delhi, Brisbane, and Pago-Pago, among others.

At the conclusion of their mission, the Senators reported their findings to the Senate. They were also quick to commend the skill of their pilot. A letter of thanks from Senator Henry Cabot Lodge commends Myers’ abilities as a pilot, citing his “sound judgment, great thoroughness and indefatigable energy.” Senator Russell was highly impressed with “fellow Cracker” Captain Myers and his crew. In a letter to the editor of American magazine, Russell states that “no finer outfit ever took a ship off of the ground anywhere at any time.” He closes his letter by proclaiming Myers and his crew “the most perfect team of humans I have ever seen in action.”

Post by Chris Ellis, Processing Intern at the Russell Library

May’s “Outside the Box” object will be on display in the lobby gallery of the Russell Library, open 8:30 am – 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday, until June 1st. For further information on the Henry Tift Myers Collection, please contact or visit

No comments: