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Jimmy Stewart - WWII Veteran

Jimmy Stewart - WWII Veteran American History Awesome Radio - Narrated Stories Disasters Social Studies Tragedies and Triumphs World War II Biographies

James Maitland Stewart (1908-1997) was known the world over as Jimmy Stewart.  Starring in many famous movies, he was also a B-24 pilot.

The National Museum of the Air Force provides more details about Stewart's military career:

On March 22, 1941, Jimmy Stewart was drafted into the U.S. Armed Forces. He was assigned to the Army Air Corps as an enlisted man and stationed at Moffett Field, Calif.

During his nine months of training at that base, he also took extension courses with the idea of obtaining a commission. He completed the courses and was awaiting the results when Pearl Harbor took place.

A month later he received his commission, and because he had logged over 400 hours as a civilian, he was permitted to take basic flight training at Moffett and received his pilot wings.

During the next nine months, he instructed in AT-6, AT-9 and B-17 aircraft and flew bombardiers in the training school at Albuquerque, N.M. In the fall of 1943, Stewart went to England as Commanding Officer of the 703d Bomb Squadron, equipped with B-24s.

He began flying combat missions and on March 31, 1944, was appointed Operations Officer of the 453rd Bomb Group and, subsequently, Chief of Staff of the 2nd Combat wing, 2nd Air Division of the 8th Air Force.

Stewart ended the war with 20 combat missions. He remained in the USAF Reserve and was promoted to brigadier general on July 23, 1959. He retired on May 31, 1968.

In addition to achieving the rank of Brig. General (one star), Stewart received exceptional-service medals.  The following four photos show him at different ranks during his military years:

Maj. Jimmy Stewart confers with a B-24 crew member. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Lt. Gen. Valin, Chief of Staff, French Air Force, awards the Croix De Guerre with Palm to Col. Jimmy Stewart for exceptional services in the liberation [of France, during World War II]. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Brig. Gen. James Stewart's jacket on display with the "Celebrities in Uniform" exhibit in the World War II Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Brig. Gen. Jimmy Stewart talks over the final details of a mission prior to takeoff. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Jimmy Stewart served in both World War II and in Vietnam. After WWII, he made one of the most-popular films of all time ... It's A Wonderful Life!

Although many people believe the copyright on this film has expired, such is not the case. NBC owns the broadcast rights for the film.

Stewart made many more films, after he starred with Donna Reed in A Wonderful Life, including several award-nominated roles. His last film was a voice-over in 1991's "An American Tail."

Retiring from the Air Force Reserve in 1968, Jimmy Stewart died on July 2, 1997.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5189stories and lessons created

Original Release: Oct 07, 2013

Updated Last Revision: Aug 07, 2018


Media Credits

Photo of Brig. Gen. James M. Stewart, online courtesy National Museum of the Air Force.

 

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"Jimmy Stewart - WWII Veteran" AwesomeStories.com. Oct 07, 2013. Dec 08, 2019.
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