"Jimmy Stewart Bomber Pilot" by Starr Smith

Discussion in 'Non-fiction' started by vikingBerserker, Jul 21, 2012.

  1. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    #1 vikingBerserker, Jul 21, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2012
    Jimmy Stewart Bomber Pilot
    By Starr Smith
    Zenith Press – 2005
    ISBN 978-0760328248

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    I’ve always liked Jimmy Stewart the actor and while perusing through the the military section in the On Sale shelves at my local book store (my own personnal Mecca) I came across this book and I thought: ”Great! A book on a great actor who flew a few patrol bomber missions in the US on sale.” I could use some light WW2 Aviation reading so I bought it and it sat on my shelf for 4 months. This week I went on vacation and brought it along with a few others and finally got to read it.

    ”Great! A book on a great actor who flew a few patrol bomber missions in the US...”

    Ok, I am now eating crow.

    The book is 287 pages long divided into 16 chapters, 5 Postscripts and a nice number of pictures.

    Jimmy was a life long pilot with a deep love of flying. He was caught up in the draft and was denied due to his height to weight ratio. Not letting this stand in his way he then volunteered and this time he was accepted. He was checked out on the B-17 and was soon based at a training base for future bomber pilots. He was not happy about this so he proceeded to figure out a way to start flying combat. With a help of his commanding officer he was soon transfered to the ETO to fly B-24s and was based in the UK with the 8th Air Force and served for 22 months. When he was promoted he flew on every combat mission his unit flew. With what appears to be pressure from above he was soon only flying on the tough missions and officially flew around 20 missions though there were a number of others he ”happened to be on”. During the Vietnam war he flew on a bombing in Vietnam.

    I always like him as an actor, but now I have a lot more respect for his military service. This is an excellent book and give it a strong 9.
     
  2. johnbr

    johnbr Well-Known Member

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    Good review of the book Thanks.
     
  3. Aaron Brooks Wolters

    Aaron Brooks Wolters Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the review David. I knew he flew combat but I did not know it was that many and for that long. Very cool.:cool:
     
  4. herman1rg

    herman1rg Well-Known Member

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    From wikipedia
    "In August 1943, Stewart was assigned to the 445th Bomb Group as operations officer of the 703d Bombardment Squadron, but after three weeks became its commander. On October 12, 1943, judged ready for overseas movement, the 445th Bomb Group staged to Lincoln Army Airfield, Nebraska. Flying individually, the aircraft first flew to Morrison Army Airfield, Florida, and then on the circuitous Southern Route along the coasts of South America and Africa to RAF Tibenham, Norfolk, England. After several weeks of training missions, in which Stewart flew with most of his combat crews, the group flew its first combat mission on December 13, 1943, to bomb the U-boat facilities at Kiel, Germany, followed three days later by a mission to Bremen. Stewart led the high squadron of the group formation on the first mission, and the entire group on the second. Following a mission to Ludwigshafen, Germany, on January 7, 1944, Stewart was promoted to major. Stewart was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for actions as deputy commander of the 2nd Combat Bombardment Wing on the first day of "Big Week" operations in February and flew two other missions that week.

    On March 22, 1944, Stewart flew his 12th combat mission, leading the 2nd Bomb Wing in an attack on Berlin. On March 30, 1944, he was sent to RAF Old Buckenham to become group operations officer of the 453rd Bombardment Group, a new B-24 unit that had just lost both its commander and operations officer on missions. As a means to inspire the unit, Stewart flew as command pilot in the lead B-24 on several missions deep into Nazi-occupied Europe. As a staff officer, Stewart was assigned to the 453rd "for the duration" and thus not subject to a quota of missions of a combat tour. He nevertheless assigned himself as a combat crewman on the group's missions until his promotion to lieutenant colonel on June 3 and reassignment on July 1, 1944, to the 2nd Bomb Wing, assigned as executive officer to Brigadier General Edward J. Timberlake. His official tally of mission credits while assigned to the 445th and 453rd Bomb Groups totaled 20 sorties.

    Stewart continued to make missions, uncredited, flying with the pathfinder squadron of the 389th Bombardment Group, with his two former groups, and with groups of the 20th Combat Bomb Wing. He received a second award of the Distinguished Flying Cross for actions in combat and was awarded the Croix de Guerre. He also received the Air Medal with three oak leaf clusters. Stewart served in a number of staff positions in the 2nd and 20th Bomb Wings between July 1944 and the end of the war in Europe, and was promoted to full colonel on March 29, 1945. On May 10, 1945, he succeeded to command of the 2nd Bomb Wing, a position he held until June 15. Stewart was one of the few Americans to rise from private to colonel in four years."
     
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