Aviation Hall of Fame


Due to the continuing COVID-19 Pandemic we've canceled our July Wings & Wheels Show. I will keep you posted on when we will reopen. In the mean time, be safe and thank you for your continuing support. Ralph Villecca Executive Director AHOF. I can be reached at [email protected]

Aviation Hall of Fame of New Jersey hosts 1945 history of New Jersey Veterans Air Express, researched and told by founde...

Aviation Hall of Fame of New Jersey hosts 1945 history of New Jersey
Veterans Air Express, researched and told by founder’s daughter

A personal curiosity about an all-Veterans air line founded in 1945 by her Dad, Saunie Gravely, grew from helter-skelter online searches in April 2015 into a full-time, organized research project. Invited by the Aviation Hall of Fame of New Jersey to share her results at the Teterboro museum on Wednesday, November 15 at 7 PM, Gaye Lyn Gravely Pollitt has no shortage of photos and first-hand accounts to tell.
The company’s first DC-3 was named after her within weeks of her birth. And Gaye Lyn's research brought her face-to-face with at least one of her Dad's 1945 pilots who flew the Gaye Lyn. She also met crew members who had piloted, flight engineered and navigated the company's two DC-4s in 1946 to Warsaw, Prague and Athens for the UNRRA, United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration. Some of those flights were staged through Teterboro before their overseas departures.
The Warsaw and Prague war-relief deliveries of hatching eggs helped restore Poland and Czechoslovakia's war-demolished poultry industries. The Warsaw flight also made history. Veterans Air was the first commercial air transport company to conduct non-military flights behind the Iron Curtain.
Many still-illusive men remain on Gaye Lyn's “list of known associates.” They motivate her to push her research efforts once again beyond her hometown resources in Santa Fe, NM.
“Since more than half of those upstart young vets, just back from “saving the world,” were Jersey boys and girls, just like my Dad, I'm conducting more research in North Jersey towns where they grew up.”
This trip, she drove cross country in her RV, visiting five Veterans Air families along the way in Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania. Plus delving into the Library of Congress in D.C. Two months ago, six other Veterans Air families lured Gaye Lyn to trek from Santa Fe to Dallas, southern Florida, South Carolina and Tennessee.
“The research repeatedly reveals how much the crews and mechanics and operations team really believed in my Dad's dream – and worked hard to make it reality. I'd love to find them all -- or their kids like me,” she smiles broadly.
“So I'm really excited to be addressing members of the Aviation Hall of Fame and the public who are also invited to attend. It will give greater exposure to the Veterans Air Express story – at the very airport that played a role in its history. I'm hoping my Hall of Fame audience recognizes someone in a photograph. Or knows a name like Terwilliger, Margeson, Heindel, Marciano, Neigel, Brenner, Montanarella, Harhen, Carlonza and Keloss. If they can help expand the research, it'll be a real kick – for them and me!”
# # # #

Adults $8, Children/seniors $10

About the AHOF event on November 15, call the museum at 201-288-6344 ask for Shea Oakley
About Veterans Air Express, go to veteransair.org or contact Gaye Lyn at 505-795-8913
Aviation Hall of Fame and Museum of NJ
400 Fred Wehran Drive
Teterboro, NJ 07608
Photo from Air Trails Pictorial Magazine (defunct since 1950's)

Timeline Photos

Timeline Photos



Saturday, May 16 and Sunday, May 17, 10 AM-4 PM!
Teterboro's Aviation Hall of Fame holds 'open cockpit' event

Saturday, May 16 and Sunday, May 17, 10 AM-4 PM!

The museum has for more than a decade held open cockpit days but last November decided to make the well-attended event a weekend-long affair – and it’s been a success, said Shea Oakley, executive director of the Aviation Hall of Fame.

Nice enough to offer us a free ad for Wings & Wheels in June...
The Aviation Magazine

Nice enough to offer us a free ad for Wings & Wheels in June...

We cover military air shows, exercises, base visits and other aviation related events in North America, Europe and expanding world wide.

On October 7, 2014 at 7 PM at the Fiesta Ballroom in Wood-Ridge, NJ the Aviation Hall of Fame and Museum of NJ will indu...

On October 7, 2014 at 7 PM at the Fiesta Ballroom in Wood-Ridge, NJ the Aviation Hall of Fame and Museum of NJ will induct three men with outstanding records and contributions to aviation history. We are proud to be able to honor these heroes, each of whom demonstrated great skill and great courage under very different circumstances. In each case, they exhibited the finest traditions of American airmen and women. We are humbled by their accomplishments. Join us for the evening’s ceremony and we think you will be richly rewarded by sharing their stories. Tickets to our Induction Dinner are $100 each. Please contact us at (201)-288-6344 if you would like to attend.

This year’s inductees:

Maj. Joseph Crecca
Born 1940

Born and raised in New Jersey, Crecca graduated from Bloomfield High School and went on to earn a B.S. degree from Newark College of Engineering in 1962. He entered the USAF in 1964 and began flight training. He finished Officer’s Training School as a Distinguished Military Graduate.

After being certified as an F-4C Phantom Weapons Systems Officer, Crecca shipped out to Vietnam in July of 1966. In November of that year, after flying 87 combat missions, his aircraft was shot down over enemy territory by a Surface to Air missile. He was captured and spent the next six years and three months incarcerated by the North Vietnamese; including time spent in the infamous “Hanoi Hilton” P.O.W. camp.

After release in 1973 Crecca went through jet requalification in the T-38 and then became an F-4E pilot. For the next four years he was stationed at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida where, in addition to flying, he held a number of leadership positions.

In 1978 Crecca left the Air Force to become a commercial pilot. He received a position at Flying Tigers and went on to fly the DC-8 and 747. In 1989 Flying Tigers was merged into Federal Express. At Federal Crecca flew MD-11’s as First Officer and Captain. After reaching the mandatory retirement age of 60 for pilots he continued as a Flight Engineer on DC-10’s before retiring in 2005.

Medals awarded to Crecca include the Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star, eight Air Medals, two Purple Hearts, the Prisoner of War Medal and the Republic of Vietnam Cross of gallantry with Palm.

Cpt. Kenneth T. Ham
Born 1964

Hailing from Plainfield, Ham graduated from the Naval Academy in 1987 with a degree in aerospace engineering. He later earned an M.S. in the same subject from the Naval Postgraduate program.

After being commissioned an officer Ham was assigned to the NASA-JSC Zero-g flight research program at Ellington Field in Houston. In 1989 he became a Naval Aviator and reported to Florida’s NAS Cecil Field where he trained on F/A-18’s prior to joining the Privateers of VFA-132, and later the Gunslingers of VFA-105. He completed two carrier deployments involving combat missions over Northern Iraq and Bosnia. During this time Ham served as Air Wing Strike Leader. Following this posting he became a Distinguished Graduate of the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School and test flew the F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet. In 1998 he was selected to be a NASA astronaut.

Ham’s first spaceflight was aboard Space Shuttle Discovery on the STS-124 mission in 2008. He served as pilot and spent nearly two weeks in orbit, including a docking with the International Space Station (ISS). In 2010 Ham was Mission Commander of Space Shuttle Atlantis on the STS-132 mission, also to the ISS. By the close of this mission Ham had logged a combined total of 24 days in space. After leaving NASA he became Chair of Aerospace Engineering at Annapolis, only recently departing to join a commercial spaceflight company.

Ham is a member of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots, the U.S. Naval Academy Alumni Association, and the Association of Space Explorers. He has logged over 6,000 hours piloting more than 40 aircraft types and has made more than 300 carrier landings.

Lt. Col. Jay Zeamer, Jr.

A childhood resident of Orange, Zeamer was an Eagle Scout by age 13. In 1940 he graduated from M.I.T. with a degree in civil engineering. Already an Army reservist with an interest in aviation, Zeamer joined the active force in 1940 and graduated from flight school in 1941. Stationed in New Guinea at the time of Pearl Harbor Zeamer became a B-17 Flying Fortress pilot. By May 1943 he had already won two Silver Stars on combat flights.

On June 16th, 1943 Zeamer was in command of a B-17 photo-reconnaissance mission over Japanese-held Bougainville. On the return flight his aircraft was intercepted by an estimated 17 enemy fighters. In a 45-minute running battle he and his crew shot down at least five aircraft despite eight airmen, including Zeamer, being wounded. The B-17 was heavily damaged, losing both oxygen and hydraulic systems. Despite being severely injured, and drifting in and out of consciousness, he directed his crew to a safe landing at a base 580 miles away. For this action Zeamer was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor along with his bombardier, the one casualty of the mission.

After the war Zeamer earned a Masters degree in aeronautical engineering from M.I.T. and worked as an engineer for Pratt & Whitney, Hughes Aircraft, and Raytheon before retiring in 1968. When he passed away in 2007 he was the last living USAAF Medal of Honor recipient.

In addition to the Medal and the Silver Stars Zeamer was awarded two Distinguished Flying Crosses and two Air Medals.

Aviation Hall of Fame's cover photo

Aviation Hall of Fame's cover photo

Timeline Photos

Timeline Photos


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400 Fred Wehran Dr
Teterboro, NJ


(201) 288-6344



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