I know, I know it’s June but Christmas is my favorite season and always thinking of things to do and buy for the kids prior to the holiday season! One of my favorite Christmas traditions, besides lots and lots of homemade cookies, is Christmas movies!
It’s a Wonderful Life is a timeless classic, watched by hundreds of thousands during the holiday season but did you know that one of the main actors served in our U.S. Military?!
That’s right!! Jimmy Stewart, or George Bailey as is his character in the movie, served in the Air Force!
Born to the owner of a hardware store, Jimmy Stewart dodged continuing the family business wanting to pursue other avenues. Stewart was shy as a child and was interested in aviation, but his father discouraged him from attending the U.S. Naval Academy and guided him towards Princeton.
It was at Princeton that Stewart became involved in acting, and began a career as a stage actor.
During the depression, Jimmy Stewart was able to find some work in the cinemas and it was during his time acting that he realized he had a passion for aviation, logging over 400 flight time hours! D
When the U.S. entered World War II, Stewart was drafted into the Army but was rejected because he was underweight for his height. He worked with colleagues to put on the necessary pounds, and successfully enlisted with the Air Corps!
Jimmy Stewart was a triple treat…..holding a college degree, talented actor and has logged extensive flight time! Because he had logged over 400 hours as a civilian, he was permitted to take basic flight training at Moffett and earned his pilot wings. During the next nine months, he instructed in AT-6, AT-9, and B-17 aircraft and flew bombardiers. 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 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.
Beloved actor, pilot and veteran.
Thank you for your service!