Monte Orr of rural Hay Springs, Neb., and Kent Orr of Grand Island, Neb., were asked to participate with six other Stearman Bi-Plane Trainers in the Ottumwa Iowa Naval Air Station 70th Anniversary Commemorative Air Mail flight. The Orr’s 1943 Stearman, which they are currently restoring to it’s Navy colors, was one of the three Stearmans based at Ottumwa Naval Air Station for a short time.
The pilots were sworn in to carry the mail by the postmaster and the mail was stamped by the Ottumwa Postmaster. It was then flown by pilot Monte Orr to Oskaloosa Iowa Naval Air Station Auxiliary Field. The Oskaloosa postmaster stamped the mail with a custom Oskaloosa stamp. Once the mail was stamped pilot Kent Orr flew the mail back to Ottumwa to complete the commemorative flight.
Ottumwa’s Naval Air Station was commissioned March 13, 1943. 4626 pilots completed primary flight training at the base with a total of 397,214 training flights. Among noteworthy individuals who were stationed at the Ottumwa Naval Air Station were President Richard Nixon and Astronaut Scott Carpenter.