DAYTON, Ohio -- Brig. Gen. James Stewart's jacket in 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)
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.