It’s not common to hear WW2 Veteran and Oscar Winner in the same sentence. This month’s Hero Spotlight, however, looks back at just such a person. This member of the greatest generation actually enlisted shortly after receiving an Academy Award for “The Philadelphia Story.” That man, of course, is James Stewart. He memorably starred in classics like “It’s a Wonderful Life,” but many may not know that he was also a war hero.
An Exceptional “Everyman”
It is kind of interesting that Stewart is known for his portrayal of the “everyman” type character when in reality, he was truly exceptional. Fame never went to his head, and he didn’t think twice about serving his country even after he had made it in Hollywood. He enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps as a private in 1941 and was quickly assigned to the motion pictures unit to make films for the War Department. This was not enough for him. He didn’t want to be a pampered celebrity. He wanted to serve his country with the other men who risked their lives.
Real Heroics Worthy of a Hollywood Movie
After fighting for a change in assignment, he became a bomber pilot and flew 20 harrowing combat missions. As a flight leader, he was responsible for the missions and the lives of those serving alongside him. He didn’t speak much of the war, but he made it clear that he took that responsibility very seriously. Of course, most remember Stewart more for his films than his military service, but neither should be forgotten. Not only was James Stewart a WW2 Veteran, but he continued to serve in the USAF Reserve and was even promoted to brigadier general in 1959.
Learn more about the Stewart’s military career here.
While we have you, help us give back to our WWII Veterans. The Greatest Generation is working to get Congress to approve a bill that would change the lives of these great Americans. Learn about the bill here. Please sign our petition, and share on Facebook and Twitter.