Jimmy Stewart was born on May 20, 1908, in Indiana, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Princeton University in 1932, and became an actor. Stewart enlisted in the Army Air Corps on March 22, 1941, and was commissioned a 2Lt and awarded his pilot wings on December 31, 1941. He served as an instructor pilot during most of 1942 and 1943, and was assigned to the 445th Bombardment Group in Sioux City, Iowa in August 1943. Stewart flew with the group to England in December 1943 and soon began flying combat missions over Europe. He was assigned as Group Operations Officer for the 453rd Bombardment Group in March 1944, and became Chief of Staff for the 2nd Combat Wing, 2nd Division, 8th Air Force in July 1944. Col Stewart flew 20 official combat missions over Europe in B-24 Liberators during World War II. After the war, he went into the Air Force Reserve where he received a promotion to Brigadier General in 1959. Stewart was a founding member of the Air Force Association in 1946. He served a short tour in Southeast Asia in 1966 and retired from the Air Force on June 1, 1968. On May 23, 1985, President Ronald Reagan awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom and promoted him to Major General on the retired list. Jimmy Stewart died at his home in Beverly Hills, California, on July 2, 1997. He was buried at the Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California.
His 2nd Distinguished Flying Cross Citation reads:
James M. Stewart, 0433210, Lieutenant Colonel, Army Air Forces, United States Army. For extraordinary achievement, while serving as Air Commander of heavy bombardment formations on many missions to enemy occupied territory. Lieutenant Colonel Stewart's skillful leadership and sound judgement in guiding his formations to heavily defended targets requiring deep penetrations have been major factors in the successful destructions 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.