Originally Posted by Roger Lococco
He was thrown from a horse back in 2014 and then it fell on top of him, any other 80+ person would have died, he only needed a cane for a short while then he was good as new, he really is mf-ing Captain Kirk, lol.
We went from Real Deal heros
Maj. Jimmy Stewart.jpg
Place of burial Glendale, California
Allegiance United States
Service/branch US Army Air Corps Hap Arnold Wings.svg United States Army Air Forces
Years of service
US Air Force O7 shoulderboard.svg Brigadier General (Air Force)
World War II
European Theater of Operations
See also: List of awards and nominations received by James Stewart
Stewart's family on both sides had deep military roots, as both grandfathers had fought in the Civil War, and his father had served during both the Spanish–American War and World War I. Stewart considered his father to be the biggest influence on his life, so it was not surprising that, when another war came, he too was willing to serve. Members of his family had previously been in the infantry, but Stewart chose to become a flier.
An early interest in flying led Stewart to gain his private pilot certificate in 1935 and commercial pilot license in 1938. He often flew cross-country to visit his parents in Pennsylvania, navigating by the railroad tracks. Nearly two years before the December 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, Stewart had accumulated over 400 hours of flying time.
Considered a highly proficient pilot, he entered a cross-country race as a co-pilot in 1939. Stewart, along with musician/composer Hoagy Carmichael, saw the need for trained war pilots, and joined with other Hollywood celebrities to invest in Thunderbird Field, a pilot-training school built and operated by Southwest Airways in Glendale, Arizona. This airfield became part of the United States Army Air Forces training establishment and trained more than 10,000 pilots during World War II.
In October 1940, Stewart was drafted into the United States Army but was rejected for failing to meet the weight requirements for his height for new recruits—Stewart was 5 pounds (2.3 kg) under the standard. To get up to 143 pounds (65 kg), he sought out the help of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's muscle man and trainer Don Loomis, who was noted for his ability to help people gain or lose weight in his studio gymnasium. Stewart subsequently attempted to enlist in the Air Corps, but still came in underweight, although he persuaded the enlistment officer to run new tests, this time passing the weigh-in,[N 2] with the result that Stewart enlisted and was inducted in the Army on March 22, 1941. He became the first major American movie star to wear a military uniform in World War II.
Stewart enlisted as a private but applied for an Air Corps commission and Service Pilot rating as both a college graduate and a licensed commercial pilot. Soon to be 33, he was almost six years beyond the maximum age restriction for Aviation Cadet training, the normal path of commissioning for pilots, navigators and bombardiers. The now-obsolete auxiliary pilot ratings (Glider Pilot, Liaison Pilot and Service Pilot) differed from the Aviation Cadet Program in that a higher maximum age limit and corrected vision were allowed upon initial entry. Stewart received his commission as a second lieutenant on January 1, 1942, shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor, while a corporal at Moffett Field, California. He received his Service Pilot rating at that time, under the Service Pilot program established in March 1942 for experienced former civilian pilots. Although Service Pilots were normally restricted to noncombat flying, they were permitted to fly overseas on cargo and utility transports, typically with Air Transport, Ferry or Troop Carrier Commands. Under the regulations of the period, a Service Pilot could obtain an unrestricted Pilot rating after one year of USAAF service on flying status, provided he met certain flight experience requirements and passed an evaluation board, and some did in fact go on to combat flying assignments. Stewart's first assignment was an appearance at a March of Dimes rally in Washington, D.C., but Stewart wanted assignment to an operational unit rather than serving as a recruiting symbol. He applied for and was granted advanced training on multi-engine aircraft. Stewart was posted to nearby Mather Field to instruct in both single- and twin-engine aircraft.
James Stewart in Winning Your Wings (1942)
Public appearances by Stewart were limited engagements scheduled by the Army Air Forces. "Stewart appeared several times on network radio with Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy. Shortly after Pearl Harbor, he performed with Orson Welles, Edward G. Robinson, Walter Huston and Lionel Barrymore in an all-network radio program called We Hold These Truths, dedicated to the 150th anniversary of the Bill of Rights." In early 1942, Stewart was asked to appear in a film to help recruit the 100,000 airmen the USAAF anticipated it would need to win the war. The USAAF's First Motion Picture Unit shot scenes of Lieutenant Stewart in his pilot's flight jacket and recorded his voice for narration. The short recruitment film Winning Your Wings appeared in movie theaters nationwide beginning in late May and was very successful, resulting in 150,000 new recruits.
Stewart was concerned that his expertise and celebrity status would relegate him to instructor duties "behind the lines". His fears were confirmed when, after his promotion to first lieutenant on July 7, 1942, he was stationed from August to December 1942 at Kirtland Army Airfield in Albuquerque, New Mexico, piloting AT-11 Kansans used in training bombardiers. He was transferred to Hobbs Army Airfield, New Mexico, for three months of transition training in the four-engine B-17 Flying Fortress, then sent to the Combat Crew Processing Center in Salt Lake City, where he expected to be assigned to a combat unit. Instead, he was assigned in early 1943 to an operational training unit, the 29th Bombardment Group at Gowen Field, Boise, Idaho, as an instructor. He was promoted to captain on July 9, 1943, and appointed a squadron commander. To Stewart, now 35, combat duty seemed far away and unreachable, and he had no clear plans for the future. However, a rumor that Stewart would be taken off flying status and assigned to making training films or selling bonds called for immediate action, because what he dreaded most was "the hope-shattering spectre of a dead end". Stewart appealed to his commander, 30-year-old Lt. Col. Walter E. Arnold Jr., who understood his situation and recommended Stewart to the commander of the 445th Bombardment Group, a B-24 Liberator unit that had just completed initial training at Gowen Field and gone on to final training at Sioux City Army Air Base, Iowa.[N 3]
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 to go overseas, 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.[N 4] 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. 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 was 20 sorties.
Stewart continued to go on 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 French Croix de Guerre. He also was awarded 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. Less than two months later, on May 10, he succeeded to command briefly the 2nd Bomb Wing, a position he held until June 15, 1945. Stewart was one of the few Americans to ever rise from private to colonel in only four years during the Second World War.
At the beginning of June 1945, Stewart was the presiding officer of the court-martial of a pilot and navigator who were charged with dereliction of duty for having accidentally bombed the Swiss city of Zurich the previous March—the first instance of U.S. personnel being tried for an attack on a neutral country. The court acquitted the defendants.
Military service during the Second World War
When the Second World War broke out, Lee volunteered to fight for the Finnish forces during the Winter War in 1939. He and other British volunteers were kept away from actual fighting, but they were issued winter gear and were posted on guard duty a safe distance from the front lines. After a fortnight, they returned home. Lee returned to work at United States Lines and found his work more satisfying, feeling that he was contributing. In early 1940, he joined Beecham's, at first as an office clerk, then as a switchboard operator. When Beecham's moved out of London, he joined the Home Guard. In the winter, his father fell ill with bilateral pneumonia and died on 12 March 1941. Realising that he had no inclination to follow his father into the Army, Lee decided to join up while he still had some choice of service, and volunteered for the Royal Air Force.
Lee reported to RAF Uxbridge for training and was then posted to the Initial Training Wing at Paignton. After he had passed his exams in Liverpool, the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan meant that he travelled on the Reina del Pacifico to South Africa, then to his posting at Hillside, at Bulawayo in Southern Rhodesia. Training with de Havilland Tiger Moths, Lee was having his penultimate training session before his first solo flight, when he suffered from headaches and blurred vision. The medical officer hesitantly diagnosed a failure of his optic nerve, and he was told he would never be allowed to fly again. Lee was devastated, and the death of a fellow trainee from Summer Fields only made him more despondent. His appeals were fruitless, and he was left with nothing to do. He was moved around to different flying stations before being posted to Southern Rhodesia's capital, Salisbury, in December 1941. He then visited the Mazowe Dam, Marandellas, the Wankie Game Reserve and the ruins of Great Zimbabwe. Thinking he should "do something constructive for my keep", he applied to join RAF Intelligence. His superiors praised his initiative, and he was seconded into the Rhodesian Police Force and was posted as a warder at Salisbury Prison. He was then promoted to leading aircraftman and moved to Durban in South Africa, before travelling to Suez on the Nieuw Amsterdam.
After "killing time" at RAF Kasfareet near the Great Bitter Lake in the Suez Canal Zone, he resumed intelligence work in the city of Ismaïlia. He was then attached to No. 205 Group RAF before being commissioned as a pilot officer at the end of January 1943, and attached to No. 260 Squadron RAF as an intelligence officer. As the North African Campaign progressed, the squadron "leapfrogged" between Egyptian airstrips, from RAF El Daba to Maaten Bagush and on to Mersa Matruh. They lent air support to the ground forces and bombed strategic targets. Lee, "broadly speaking, was expected to know everything". The Allied advance continued into Libya, through Tobruk and Benghazi to the Marble Arch and then through El Agheila, Khoms and Tripoli, with the squadron averaging five missions a day. As the advance continued into Tunisia, with the Axis forces digging themselves in at the Mareth Line, Lee was almost killed when the squadron's airfield was bombed. After breaking through the Mareth Line, the squadron made their final base in Kairouan. After the Axis surrender in North Africa in May 1943, the squadron moved to Zuwarah in Libya in preparation for the Allied invasion of Sicily. They then moved to Malta, and, after its capture by the British Eighth Army, the Sicilian town of Pachino, before making a permanent base in Agnone Bagni. At the end of July 1943, Lee received his second promotion of the year, this time to flying officer. After the Sicilian campaign was over, Lee came down with malaria for the sixth time in under a year, and was flown to a hospital in Carthage for treatment. When he returned, the squadron was restless, frustrated with a lack of news about the Eastern Front and the Soviet Union in general, and with no mail from home or alcohol. Unrest spread and threatened to turn into mutiny. Lee, by now an expert on Russia, talked them into resuming their duties, which much impressed his commanding officer.
Flying Officer C. F. C. Lee in Vatican City, 1944, soon after the Liberation of Rome
After the Allied invasion of Italy, the squadron was based in Foggia and Termoli during the winter of 1943. Lee was then seconded to the Army during an officer's swap scheme. He spent most of this time with the Gurkhas of the 8th Indian Infantry Division during the Battle of Monte Cassino. While spending some time on leave in Naples, Lee climbed Mount Vesuvius, which erupted three days later. During the final assault on Monte Cassino, the squadron was based in San Angelo, and Lee was nearly killed when one of the planes crashed on takeoff, and he tripped over one of its live bombs. After the battle, the squadron moved to airfields just outside Rome, and Lee visited the city, where he met his mother's cousin, Nicolò Carandini, who had fought in the Italian resistance movement. In November 1944, Lee was promoted to flight lieutenant and left the squadron in Iesi to take up a posting at Air Force HQ. Lee took part in forward planning and liaison, in preparation for a potential assault into the rumoured German Alpine Fortress. After the war ended, Lee was invited to go hunting near Vienna and was then billeted in Pörtschach am Wörthersee. For the final few months of his service, Lee, who spoke fluent French and German, among other languages, was seconded to the Central Registry of War Criminals and Security Suspects. Here, he was tasked with helping to track down Nazi war criminals. Of his time with the organisation, Lee said: "We were given dossiers of what they'd done and told to find them, interrogate them as much as we could and hand them over to the appropriate authority ... We saw these concentration camps. Some had been cleaned up. Some had not." He retired from the RAF in 1946 with the rank of flight lieutenant.
Lee's stepfather served as a captain in the Intelligence Corps, but it is unlikely he had any influence over Lee's military career. Lee saw him for the last time on a bus in London in 1940, by then divorced from Lee's mother, though Lee did not speak to him. Lee mentioned that during the war he was attached to the Special Operations Executive and the Long Range Desert Group, the precursor of the SAS, but always declined to go into details.
I was attached to the SAS from time to time but we are forbidden – former, present, or future – to discuss any specific operations. Let's just say I was in Special Forces and leave it at that. People can read in to that what they like.
3) He met Prince Yusupov and Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich, the assassins of the Russian monk Rasputin. He didn’t do this as research for his later film role as Rasputin (in the 1966 Hammer film Rasputin the Mad Monk), but just as a child in the 1920s.
4) At age 17, he saw the death of the murderer Eugen Weidmann in Paris, the last person in France to be publicly executed by guillotine.
5) During World War II, Lee joined the Royal Air Force but wasn’t allowed to fly because of a problem with his optic nerve. So he became an intelligence officer for the Long Range Desert Patrol, a forerunner of the SAS, Britain’s special forces. He fought the Nazis in North Africa, often having up to five missions a day. During this time he helped retake Sicily, prevented a mutiny among his troops, contracted malaria six times in a single year and climbed Mount Vesuvius three days before it erupted.
6) At some point during the war he moved from the LRDP to Winston Churchill’s even more elite Special Operations Executive, whose missions are literally still classified, but involved “conducting espionage, sabotage and reconnaissance in occupied Europe against the Axis powers.” The SOE was more informally called — and I can’t believe this somehow hasn’t been made into a movie yet — The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare.
7) Lee never said anything specific about his time in the SOE, but he did say this: “I’ve seen many men die right in front of me - so many in fact that I’ve become almost hardened to it. Having seen the worst that human beings can do to each other, the results of torture, mutilation and seeing someone blown to pieces by a bomb, you develop a kind of shell. But you had to. You had to. Otherwise we would never have won.” By the end of the war he’d received commendations for bravery from the British, Polish, Czech and Yugoslavia governments.
At the beginning of the Second World War, Doohan joined the Royal Canadian Artillery and was a member of the 14th (Midland) Field Battery, 2nd Canadian Infantry Division. He was commissioned a lieutenant in the 14th Field Artillery Regiment of the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division. He was sent to England in 1940 for training. He first saw combat landing at Juno Beach on D-Day. Shooting two snipers, Doohan led his men to higher ground through a field of anti-tank mines, where they took defensive positions for the night. Crossing between command posts at 11:30 that night, Doohan was hit by six rounds fired from a Bren Gun by a nervous Canadian sentry: four in his leg, one in the chest, and one through his right middle finger. The bullet to his chest was stopped by a silver cigarette case given to him by his brother. His right middle finger had to be amputated, something he would conceal on-screen during most of his career as an actor.
Doohan graduated from Air Observation Pilot Course 40 with eleven other Canadian artillery officers and flew Taylorcraft Auster Mark V aircraft for 666 (AOP) Squadron, RCAF as a Royal Canadian Artillery officer in support of 1st Army Group Royal Artillery. All three Canadian (AOP) RCAF squadrons were manned by artillery officer-pilots and accompanied by non-commissioned RCA and RCAF personnel serving as observers.
Although he was never actually a member of the Royal Canadian Air Force, Doohan was once labeled the "craziest pilot in the Canadian Air Force". In the late spring of 1945, on Salisbury Plain north of RAF Andover, he slalomed a plane between telegraph poles "to prove it could be done"—earning himself a serious reprimand. (Various accounts cite the plane as a Hurricane or a jet trainer; however, it was a Mark IV Auster.)
...to hero worshiping over paid, over-'roided, whiny, holier than thou sports players and wimpy actors and politicians who would never do active military service in a war zone, finding ways to avoid service and danger.
(Props to Tom Cruise for some dangerous stuntwork in the MI films