K. Sherman died on Friday, July 15, 2016.
Dal, who was born in San
Marcus, California, in 1929, was 86 years old.
He entered the Civil Air
Patrol in 1943 and caught the wind of passion for flying.
As an enlisted man, he
had to work very hard to receive his fighter pilot wings.
But early on Dal showed
a keen determination, which was captured in an early
photo of his Mom pinning his wings when he graduated
as a pilot in 1953.
He is also pictured later
with his F100.
Dallas Sherman spent 18
years as a U.S. Air Force fighter pilot and was a fly-boy
hero well before we got to know him when went to work
for American Airlines Cargo.
He left the service as
a Major because his Uncle John McPherson, of Airborne
Freight Company fame, wanted him full time.
He thereafter pursued
his business career in transportation and aviation beginning
with Airborne Flower Traffic (later Airborne Freight
Company) where was instrumental in its growth from an
airfreight forwarder and travel agency to a worldwide,
integrated express air carrier.
Dal worked for UPS in
the 1980s and later was recruited to Guinness Peat Aviation
(an Irish company that leased aircraft), forming and
leading European Expedite in Belgium (a DHL courier
Once upon a time at American—Circa
1990, Back Row: Bob Kmiotek, Bill Boesch, Joe Phelan, and Dal Sherman;
Second Row: Bob Ciminelli, Jimmy Caruso, and Richard Shackleford;
First Row: Dan Agostino, Ken Jones, Lou Montella, and Steve Leonard.
joined American Airlines Cargo in 1990 when Bill Boesch
recruited him as VP of Cargo Marketing and Business
Bill Boesch recalls first
meeting Dallas in Europe during the early 1970s.
“Dallas was VP of
Europe for Airborne, one of Seaboard’s largest
customers, during a time I was running SWA’s global
sales effort,” Bill said.
Dallas impressed me from
“Firstly, he was
an expert in air cargo and the airlines.
“He was also a world
class businessman, and perhaps best of all, Dallas was
a warmhearted colleague.”
Bill recalls that Dallas
kept in touch throughout the years, admitting that they
“called each other often for advice.”
I joined American as President of AA Cargo, we needed
a businessman who knew air cargo and could work with
a young team to run the marketing operation and mentor
the young people who would take over for us.
“I had a hard time
convincing AA leadership that a 60 year old had the
energy to do all that we needed to be done to build
an effective cargo program.
“But the naysayers
learned very quickly their fears were unfounded.
“In short, Dallas
Sherman was a wizened, forward-looking, nurturing individual
who saw the big picture, always took the time, and had
the simple, decent patience to bring everyone else along.
He always solicited everybody for ideas and new thinking.
“Dallas, in every
sense, was a renaissance man,” Bill Boesch said.
“He was usually
the first one in the office and the last one to leave.
“He did a job that
most in the industry viewed as extremely challenging—taking
the world’s leading passenger airline and turning
it into an air cargo power without using freighters—and
became respected by competitors and customers,”
Bill Boesch said.
Just like many others,
Bill remembers Dal as one of his mentors, concluding
“I will deeply miss
“I am really saddened
to hear the news.
Ram Menen, who served
as DSVP at Emirates SkyCargo said, “Dal was a
great guy. I really enjoyed interacting with him in
the early nineties and meeting and catching up with
him last year.
“We will all miss
him dearly,” Ram said.
Mark Najarian is Managing Director-Customer Care at
American Airlines, but he came up in AA Cargo having
served as Managing Director of Cargo Sales.
“In the early 90s,
when AA and AA Cargo were growing in double digits every
year, and Bill Boesch was President of Cargo,”
Mark recalled, “he assembled a team of experienced
leaders to help guide the business and several new hires
to the company, including myself.
“For me it was great
to have Dal around as a mentor and as someone whose
kind spirit and experience were very valuable as we
endeavored to lift AA Cargo into an industry leader.
“As (Air Cargo
News/FlyingTypers) documented so often during those
years, our results spoke for themselves and made AA
Cargo a leader to this day.
“Dal was a great
“May he rest in
peace,” Mark Najarian said.
Yutaka Saito, an alumnus
of Emery Air Freight who later built the AA Cargo brand
from his Tokyo-base as managing director of cargo from
1996 to 2007, remembered Dal:
“I am extremely
sad to hear my dear friend, Dal, has gone.
“I recall many pleasant
memories as we worked and enjoyed our experiences at
American Airlines and life together.
“My deepest condolences
to his family.”
For a reporter, Dallas
Sherman was a dream: an informed, assured, always quiet
classy guy whose word was his bond.
There was an ethereal
decency about him that shone through in everything he
He was a wonderful human,
being full of spirit and giving in every situation I
ever saw him in.
Dal was that kind of sweetness—he
always brought out the best in people.
He was never a pushover,
either. You just wanted to be on his team.
He had qualities that
you can only hope for in other people.
He will forever be in
my heart as a genuine cool customer.
American, Dal moved to Tailwind International, Inc.,
an air transportation and aircraft chartering service
based in Addison, Texas. Founded in 1989, Tailwind was
operated by Dal’s wife, Michele Wilkinson (pictured
here with Dal).
Michele, who was with
Dal at the end and for their many years of marriage
and business together, said that she was greatly moved
by his courage.
“He loved this country
so much, spent 18 years of his life in service with
the Air Force, and just a few weeks ago, finally related
some of those untold stories to his children.
even know about the truly heroic things he did in defense
of our great nation!
“We will have a
military burial in San Diego, a little cemetery right
outside San Marcus, where he was born.”
last flight home was aboard American Airlines.
The carrier Dal served
so well honors all present and retired military and
transported him to his final resting place in SAN.