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Brigadier General James M. Stewart, USAFR (RET)

On Mar. 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, Cal. 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. Mex. 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 Mar. 31, 1944 was appointed Operations Officer of the 453d Bomb Group and, subsequently, Chief of Staff of the 2d Combat wing, 2d 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 Jul. 23, 1959. He retired on May 31, 1968.       To see photos of Jimmy Stewart during war times go to :  World War II Museum History.

Unassuming War Hero

When the world went to war, Stewart joined the Army and eventually became a pilot flying bombing missions over Germany. Rising from the rank of private to full colonel during World War II, he flew 20 combat missions and won the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal and the French Croix de Guerre. Always the reluctant hero, he refused all the publicity the military wanted to pour on him, insisting on being treated like any other serviceman.

Upon his retirement in 1968 he was a Brigadier General in the Air Force Reserve, the highest-ranking entertainer in the military.

Jimmy Stewart, actor, airman, citizen, was honored July 7 during a memorial for family and friends held in Los Angeles. Stewart, 89, died July 2 from a blood clot in his lung.


Learn more about Jimmy Stewart:

Jimmy Stewart "Hometown Boy" -- Visit the Jimmy Stewart Museum in PA

Reel Classics - Jimmy Stewart

James Stewart - A Tribute

Jimmy Stewart WebRing

Jimmy Stewart - A Life in Pictures

So Long Jimmy Stewart - You Professional Nice Guy