Guide to the Joe Rosbert Papers, 1917-2007
CA06-13

 Finding aid prepared by Kelly Seufert.

Collection Overview

Repository
Special Collections Department, History of Aviation Collection
Creator - Collector
Rosbert, Joe, Mr., (C. Joseph)
Title
Joe Rosbert Papers
ID
CA06-13
Date [bulk]
Bulk, 1947-1958
Date [inclusive]
1947-1998
Extent
0.8 Linear feet (Two manuscript boxes.)
Language of Materials
Collection is in English and Chinese.
Abstract
Joe Rosbert served in various managerial positions within Civil Air Transport (CAT) after World War II starting in 1947. CAT aided the Chinese National government with supplies and ammunition during the Chinese Civil War and evacuated people after the Nationalists were defeated in 1949. This collection contains archival material collected by Rosbert, such as memoranda, letters, operation plans and reports, notes, logs, statistics, maps, radiograms, and some personal papers that he accumulated throughout the course of his employment with CAT.

Citation

Joe Rosbert Papers, Document name or type, Folder number, Box number, Series number, History of Aviation Collection, Special Collections Department, Eugene McDermott Library, The University of Texas at Dallas.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Special Collections Department, History of Aviation Collection 23 April, 2013

800 West Campbell Road, MC33
Richardson, TX, 75080-3021
972-883-2570
LIBSPCO@utdallas.edu.

Access Restrictions

Materials in this collection are open for research.

Literary Rights Statement

Permission to publish material from this collection in any form, current or future, must be obtained from the Special Collections Department, Eugene McDermott Library, The University of Texas at Dallas.

Provenance Statement

The Joe Rosbert Papers were donated to the History of Aviation Collection, Special Collections Department, Eugene McDermott Library, The University of Texas at Dallas. The donor and date of arrival could not be determined due to insufficient paperwork.

Note to the Researcher

Currently, the collection is in overall fair condition because of the acidic paper and some wrinkled and/or torn pages. Metal staples and paperclips were removed and replaced with coated paperclips.

Several documents throughout the collection are undated. These were placed in the nearest chronological order that could be determined (excluding Series II, Subseries 3 which is not arranged chronologically). This happened most often in Series III, Subseries 7 (Radiograms) due to the date being absent or printed in Chinese. If order could not be determined, documents were left in original order, located next to the nearest dated document.

If a researcher is interested in a particular operation or event, it is best to determine the date of the event and then search within each series by date for documents relating to the event. There may be documents pertaining to a particular event located within more than one series.

Because of the brittle quality and acidity of the documents, Series II, Subseries I (Newspaper Clippings) was photocopied onto acid-free paper. Some clippings were resized to fit on either 8 1/2" x 11" or legal size paper. A few clippings with photos were retained because the original image is clearer than the copy.

Series II, Subseries 4 (Photographs) were housed in archival polypropylene sleeves.

Series III, Subseries I (Memoranda) contains memos titled periodic, daily, routine, and weekly summary report. It is important to note that these are not located in Series III, Subseries 3 (Operational Plans and Reports) which contains reports about specific operations, not daily or ongoing activities. This subseries also contains a few cablegrams because the format of cablegrams is most similar to memoranda.

Many documents in Series III, Subseries 2 (Letters) are written on paper titled "Inter-Office Memo" but are actually letters, not memoranda as the paper would suggest. The photocopies of the letters from Robert "Bob" and John Kennedy were determined to be on non-archival paper. These copies were re-copied onto acid-free paper.

One document in Series III, Subseries 4 Note is marked "1950" with black marker in the upper left hand corner. The content of the note appears to be plane alteration details pertaining to Operation Tropic and would mean that this document is more likely to be from 1952 and is arranged as such.

When removing Series III, Subseries 7 (Radiograms) folders, take special care to pull the folder up out of the box with two hands, one on either upper corner. This will prevent the chance of any radiograms sliding out of the folder. Some radiograms are written in code. An example of a decoded message can be found on September 18, 1948. The key is to drop the first and last letter of each "word" and only read the letters in the middle, which sometimes combine with the letters in the next "word" group. This key applies to most, but not all, coded radiograms.

Material Removed List

.05 linear ft. (one folder) of highly acidic, deteriorating newspaper clippings were photocopied onto acid-free paper and are being de-accessioned from the collection.

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Controlled Access Headings

Personal Name(s)

  • Rosbert, Joe, Mr., (C. Joseph)

Subject(s)

  • CAT/Air America Archives

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Biographical Sketch

Joseph Rosbert was born on January 19, 1917 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He attended Catholic grammar and high schools where his scholastic achievement earned him a scholarship to Villanova College, from which he graduated cum laude in 1938 with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering.

He joined the U.S. Navy in 1938, applied for and received flight training, and was assigned to fly Consolidated PBY-1 Catalina aircraft. Although having no training in fighter aircraft, Rosbert joined General Chennault’s Flying Tigers also known as the American Volunteer Group (AVG). While flying with the AVG he was credited with shooting down six Japanese aircraft and received two Chinese decorations.

After the AVG disbanded, Rosbert signed up with the China National Aviation Corporation (CNAC) flying cargo planes from India to China over the Himalayas - also known as "Flying Over the Hump” - to support the Chinese Nationals in their fight against the communists. During one of these missions, Joe Rosbert crashed into a mountain at 14,000 feet near the Tibetan border. Although Rosbert suffered a broken ankle, he and the other survivor managed to make it down the mountain to a local village and find transportation, arriving back at their original destination 47 days later.

In 1947, Rosbert joined Civil Air Transport (CAT) after serving a short time with the Flying Tiger Airlines. It was also in 1947 that he met his wife Lydia K. "Lil," née Platon. Within a year, he moved up to Chief of Operations. Rosbert was promoted to Director of Operations in January of 1948, Acting Vice-President and Assistant General Manager (VPAGM) in September of 1952, then assumed the position of VPAGM in January of 1953.

Source
 Joe Rosbert Papers, DO Biography, Folder 1, Box 1, Series I, History of Aviation Collection, Special Collections Department, Eugene McDermott Library, The University of Texas at Dallas.
Source
 Joe Rosbert Papers, Employment Status Review, Folder 1, Box 1, Series I, History of Aviation Collection, Special Collections Department, Eugene McDermott Library, The University of Texas at Dallas.
Source
 Maxner, S. & Mikel, T. (2001). Vietnam Archive Oral History Project interview with Joseph Rosbert. Vietnam Archive at Texas Tech University. Retrieved April 16, 2013 from http://www.cnac.org/rosbert04.pdf

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Scope and Content

This collection contains documents, newspaper clippings, newspapers, bulletins, articles, photos, memoranda, letters, operation plans, reports, notes, logs, maps, and radiograms created and/or collected by C. Joseph Rosbert during his employment with the Civil Air Transport. Many documents throughout the collection are marked "Confidential". This is especially true for Series III. The Joe Rosbert Papers are housed in two manuscript boxes totaling 0.8 linear feet.

Donation paperwork could not be located, so it is unclear in what condition or order the collection arrived. The original order of the documents was changed by a volunteer archivist who did not complete the process. It is unknown to what extent the original order was changed. The present archivist identified three series, with the first being the Personal Documents series.

The first series consists of two folders which contain the personal documents of Joe Rosbert accumulated during his service with CAT. The first folder contains an employment record, correspondence, an article titled One Red World written by Rosbert, a one page biography by Rosbert, and various letters to the editors. The second folder contains correspondence primarily about prospective employment opportunities including one letter from Rosbert to Aristotle Onassis, various addresses, documents relating to the sale of Rosbert's house and land at Yang Ming Shan to CAT, letters between Rosbert and Anna Chennault including the last letter General Chennault wrote to Rosbert shortly before Chennault's death.

The second series, CAT Historical/Informational Documents consists of four folders that contain non-operational documents relating to CAT and its personnel. It is arranged in four subseries: 1. Newspaper Clippings, 2. Newspapers and Bulletins, 3. Articles, and 4. Photographs.

Subseries 1. consists of one folder that holds CAT related newspaper clippings from 1948-1949.

Subseries 2. consists of one folder that holds newspapers, news sheets (mostly China News), translations of news articles, CAT bulletins, an article torn from a magazine, and one  Clipper newsletter from 1998. Everything else from this folder is dated 1949-1954.

Subseries 3. consists of one folder that holds articles about CAT and its notable personnel dated from 1950-1958, including Claire Lee Chennault, An Appreciation by George K. C. Yeh from 1958, "The Goodwill of CAT" by C. J. Rosbert, "Highlights in the History of Civil Air Transport: A Chronicle of Achievement" by Ed Souder, Jr. from 1950, "History of CAT - Brief Outline of CAT History", and "Information on General Claire L. Chennault".

Subseries 4. consists of one folder that holds twenty nine photos, seven of which are dated 1951-1952 with names written on reverse including Norm Schwartz, Kuo, Bob Rousselot, James "Earthquake McGoon" McGovern, and Bob Snoddy. The remaining twenty two depict a group of approximately twelve men touring C.A.T.C. hangars and facilities. These are undated. Image numbers are 1JR-1-6-PB1 through 1JR1-6-PB29.

The third series, CAT Operational Documents consists of fourteen folders that contain documents that were used to carry out both the daily and the extended mission of CAT as an organization. It is arranged in seven subseries: 1. Memoranda, 2. Letters, 3. Operation Plans and Reports, 4. Notes, 5. Logs and Statistics, 6. Maps, and 7. Radiograms.

Subseries 1. consists of three folders of memoranda generally covering the day to day operations of CAT including human resource policies and concerns, personnel concerns, food transportation, and operations. There are several documents pertaining to Operation Tropic from November 1951 to February 1952.

Subseries 2. consists of two folders that hold letters regarding human resource and personnel concerns, correspondence between CAT personnel (especially noting Joe Orlowski as a frequent correspondent), equipment requirements, shipments, and operations in general. It also includes a letter to Mr. James "Jimmy" Stewart from Whiting Willauer dated January 31, 1951, a letter from Robert "Bob" Kennedy to Rosbert dated November 15, 1951, a photocopy of a letter from John F. Kennedy to Rosbert dated January 16, 1952, and a handwritten letter from General Claire Chennault to Rosbert dated April 1952.

Subseries 3. consists of one folder containing documents detailing operation plans and reports of activity that occured from 1947-1955. These documents are less about daily activity and more about planning and the reported results of particular operations. There is one report pertaining to Operation Tropic from December 26, 1951.

Subseries 4. contains primarily handwritten notes by Rosbert about various activities that occured within CAT from 1948-1954. There are some documents pertaining to Operation Tropic from February 1952 to November 1952.

Subseries 5. consists of one folder of logs and statistics from 1947-1956. It contains C.A.T. ground station radio logs, flight time logs, lists of personnel, and operational statistics.

Subseries 6. contains two maps. One is titled Taiyuan and shows airfield and airdrop locations. The second is a hand drawn paper and ink map that notes dropping points with a letter and envelope.

Subseries 7. consists of seven folders of radiograms that facilitated communication between CAT personnel, some of which are written in code. There are some known documents pertaining to Operation Tropic from 1952.

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Series Description

The Joe Rosbert Papers are arranged in three series:

Series I. Personal Documents .1 linear ft. (two folders), 1947-1958.

Arranged chronologically.

Series II. CAT Historical/Informational Documents .17 linear ft. (four folders), 1947-1998.

Arranged in four subseries: 1. Newspaper Clippings, 2. Newspapers and Bulletins, 3. Articles, and 4. Photographs.

Subseries 1. Newspaper Clippings .05 linear ft. (one folder), 1949-1955.

Arranged chronologically.

Subseries 2. Newspapers and Bulletins .05 linear ft. (one folder), 1947-1998.

Arranged chronologically.

Subseries 3. Articles .05 linear ft. (one folder), 1950-1958.

Arranged alphabetically by title.

Subseries 4. Photographs .02 linear ft. (one folder), 1951-1952.

Arranged chronologically.

Series III. CAT Operational Documents .53 linear ft. (one manuscript box and three folders), 1947-1956.

Arranged in seven subseries: 1. Memoranda, 2. Letters, 3. Operation Plans and Reports, 4. Notes, 5. Logs and Statistics, 6. Maps, and 7. Radiograms.

Subseries 1. Memoranda .15 linear ft. (three folders), 1948-1954.

Arranged chronologically.

Subseries 2. Letters .12 linear ft. (two folders), 1949-1956.

Arranged chronologically.

Subseries 3. Operation Plans and Reports .03 linear ft. (one folder), 1948-1955.

Arranged chronologically.

Subseries 4. Notes .03 linear ft. (one folder), 1948-1954.

Arranged chronologically.

Subseries 5. Logs and Statistics .03 linear ft. (one folder), 1947-1956.

Arranged chronologically.

Subseries 6. Maps .02 linear ft. (one folder), 1948-1949.

Arranged chronologically.

Subseries 7. Radiograms .16 linear ft. (four folders), 1947-1952.

Arranged chronologically.

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Related Materials

Additional Sources

For more information on Joe Rosbert and the Civil Air Transport, ask an archivist for:

Rosbert, C. J. (1990). The pictorial history of Civil Air Transport : the CAT with more than nine lives! Franklin, NC: Giant Poplar Press.

Rosbert, C.J. (1985). Flying Tiger Joe's adventure story cookbook. Franklin, NC: Giant Poplar Press.

The Interview on video CAT/Air America collection, also located in the Special Collections Department, McDermott Library, The University of Texas at Dallas.

For information about Joe Rosbert and his service in China National Aviation Corporation (CNAC) visit:

http://www.cnac.org/rosbert01.htm

To read an oral interview with Joseph Rosbert from the Vietnam Archive at Texas Tech University, part of the Vietnam Archive Oral History Project, visit:

http://www.cnac.org/rosbert04.pdf

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Image ID

It is the researcher's responsibility to secure permission from copyright holders of materials to which this institution does not own copyright.

Images in this collection are identified by a unique number that provides information about the format, record group, collection, box, folder, and image numbers. Please use this number when ordering reproductions of images from this collection.

Record Group Code

1 = CAT/Air American Archives

2 = Doolittle Archives

3 = Lighter than Air Archives

4 = George H. Williams, Jr., World War I Aviation Library

5 = History of Aviation Archives

6 = University Archives

7 = HAC Stacks

8 = WPRL Stacks

9 = Cecil H. and Ida M. Green Collection

10 = Belsterling Collection

11 = Closed Stacks

12 = Unidentified

13 = Chance Vought Archives

14 = Twirly Birds Archives

Image Format Code

P = Photograph/Postcard

S = Slide

N = Negative

T = Positive Transparency

B = Black and White

C = Color

Example : 1JR-1-1-PB1

1 = CAT/Air American Archives

JR = Joe Rosbert Papers

1 = Box Number

1 = Folder Number

P = Photograph/Postcard

B = Black and White

1 = Image Number

Images archived in plastic image holders may also have a location code in the format: 1/TL. In this example, the number is the sheet number and the letters indicate the top left position on the sheet. Position indicators are T = top, L = left, R = right, M = middle, and B = bottom. Position indicators may be combined to describe the position on the sheet, as shown in this example.

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Collection Inventory

Series I. Personal Documents 

Personal Documents. 1947-1953   Correspondence, employment record, and article by Rosbert.


    Box Folder
Text   1 1

Personal Documents. 1956-1958   Employment opportunities correspondence, house sale documents, and Chennault letter.


    Box Folder
Text   1 2

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Series II. CAT Historical/Informational Documents 

Subseries 1. Newspaper Clippings 

Newspaper Clippings. 1954-1955 


    Box Folder
Text   1 3

Subseries 2. Newspapers and Bulletins 

Newspapers and Bulletins. 1947-1998  (Bulk, 1947-1954)   China News, CAT bulletins, an article, and newsletter.


    Box Folder
Text   1 4

Subseries 3. Articles 

Articles. 1950-1958   Articles about CAT and its notable personnel.


    Box Folder
Text   1 5

Subseries 4. Photographs 

Photographs. 1951-1952   Image number 1JR-1-6-PB1 through 1JR-1-6-PB29 depicting CAT personnel.


    Box Folder
Graphic materials   1 6

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Series III. CAT Operational Documents 

Subseries 1. Memoranda 

Memoranda. 1948-1949   Memoranda to and from CAT personnel.


    Box Folder
Text   1 7

Memoranda. 1950 February-December   Memoranda to and from CAT personnel.


    Box Folder
Text   1 8

Memoranda. 1951-1954   Memoranda to and from CAT personnel.


    Box Folder
Text   1 9

Subseries 2. Letters 

Letters. 1949-1952   Letters to and from Joe Rosbert regarding CAT business.


    Box Folder
Text   1 1
    Safe Envelope
Text   HAC 1

Materials Removed List

Original letter from Robert Kennedy to Joe Rosbert moved to the HAC Safe, Shelf 1.

Letters. 1953-1956   Letters to and from Joe Rosbert regarding CAT business.


    Box Folder
Text   2 2

Subseries 3. Operation Plans and Reports 

Operation Plans and Report. 1948-1955   Non-daily operation plans and operation reports.


    Box Folder
Text   2 3

Subseries 4. Notes 

Notes. 1948-1954   Notes, mostly handwritten by Rosbert.


    Box Folder
Text   2 4

Subseries 5. Logs and Statistics 

Logs and Statistics. 1947-1956   Flight time records, radio logs, and personnel lists.


    Box Folder
Text   2 5

Subseries 6. Maps 

Maps. 1948-1949   Two maps of drop points and landing fields.


    Box Folder
Maps   2 6

Subseries 7. Radiograms 

Radiograms. 1947-1948   CAT radiograms.


    Box Folder
Text   2 7

Radiograms. 1948 July-December   CAT radiograms.


    Box Folder
Text   2 8

Radiograms. 1949 January-September   CAT radiograms.


    Box Folder
Text   2 9

Radiograms. 1950-1956   CAT radiograms.


    Box Folder
Text   2 10

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