James Stewart - A Star Who Served
James Stewart is one of the most decorated military celebrities in American history. His family has deep military roots. Both of his grandfathers fought in the Civil War and his father had fought in both the Spanish-American War and World War 1. Military service ran in his blood and he was eager to serve his country. He got his chance during World War 2.
Already a major film star with 28 films under his belt, James was drafted into the US Army in October of 1940 but was ultimately rejected due to being under the weight requirement. With the help of a trainer, James was able to add the necessary weight and was inducted into the Army in March of 1941. In 1943 James was assigned to the 445 Bomb Group as operations officer but took command of the group only three weeks later. The group flew bombing missions in Kiel, Bremen, and Ludwigshafen in Germany.
In early 1944, James was promoted to the rank of Major and awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. He tallied 20 bombing missions and was promoted to Colonel in March of 1945. After WW2 he stayed active in the Air Force Reserves. In 1959 he was promoted to Brigadier General. In 1966, James was present on a B-52 bombing mission in Vietnam.
After having served his country through two wars and 27 years, James retired from the Air Force in May of 1968. The sacrifice for his country did not stop there. James’s stepson served in the Marine Corps and was killed in action in 1969 at the age of 24 while fighting in Vietnam.
James Stewart’s acting career spans six decades and some of the greatest films of all time but his patriotism, service, and sacrifice to the country is an even more glistening record.