“At the start of 1951 you could have bought the good will of our airline for a thousand dollars,” said one of the Board of National Airlines. “Today you could not buy it for millions.”
A feud which had lasted years, caused one of the longest strikes in airlines history, and was about to cause another one “was brought to a screeching halt as the result of Moral Re-Armament.” So says W. T. “Slim” Babbitt, vice-president of the Air Line Pilots Association of America (ALPA). Two men were at the heart of this feud. One was Babbitt himself, the other G. T. Baker, president of National Airlines. “We were two deadly enemies,” says Slim Babbitt. Baker is tough and square, a man who has fought his way up from the ground to the top of a large industrial enterprise.
He was born in the Middle West with little in his pocket, but with a passion for flying in his heart. He began operating a one-man air service between Chicago and some of the Southern states. Then he moved to Florida and painfully, steadily, resolutely built up the enterprise known as National Airlines. It was a struggle every inch of the way, and in that struggle Baker became ruthless.