View Single Post
Old 12-30-2012, 12:04 PM   #1  
Gets Weekends Off
UnderOveur's Avatar
Joined APC: Dec 2012
Position: Holding over Macho Grande
Posts: 516
Default Brigadier General James Maitlan Stewart

May 20, 1908 July 2, 1997

My #1 all-time personal aviation hero. For my 3rd post in this forum after agreeing to the rules and an introduction, I'd like to pay my respects.

It's just past Christmas, and ever since I was a kid I've always loved the movie "It's a Wonderful Life" starring Jimmy Stewart. It's considered a holiday TV classic and is on every year in December. It was also Stewart's personal favorite of all the movies he ever made.

Having just won the Academy Award for Best Actor ("The Philadelphia Story") in Feb. of 1941 at the age of 33, Stewart voluntarily enlisted in the US Army on March 22, 1941 as a private, becoming the first major American movie star to wear a military uniform in WWII. This was 9 months PRIOR to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. He was already an accomplished pilot by then and received both his commission and pilot's rating in Jan. of 1942.

He was one of the few Americans to rise from private to full Colonel in the 4 years of America's WWII, and won the Distinguished Flying Cross for service in combat...twice...

...all this AFTER having become a major Hollywood star and winning an Academy Award.

One of his DFC citations reads:

"....while serving as Air Commander of heavy bombardment formations on many missions to enemy occupied territory during World War II. Lieutenant Colonel Stewart's skillful leadership and sound judgment in guiding his formations to heavily defended targets requiring deep penetrations have been major factors in the successful destruction of these vital enemy installations. The outstanding tactical ability displayed by Lieutenant Colonel Stewart reflects the highest credit upon himself and the Armed Forces of the United States."

He finally retired from the US Air Force Reserve as a Brigadier General in 1968, and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and promoted Major General in retirement by President Ronald Reagan in 1985.

Did you know...?

"It's a Wonderful Life" was the first film Academy Award and DFC winner then-Col. Stewart made after returning home from flying B-24's over Germany during WWII, and ranks as the US Film Institute's #1 Inspirational Film ever made.

This aviator was a giant among men.

UnderOveur is offline