Saturday, August 18, 2007

Jimmy Stewart--B-24 Pilot and Actor, Gets a Stamp

Jimmy got his stamp last week. The price has gone up to 41 cents, but the stamp is the same.

The great James 'Jimmy' Stewart was honored with a United States postage stamp last week. Stewart is best-known and loved as a Hollywood film actor, but he was also a B-24 pilot in World War Two and flew twenty missions over Europe. His men remember him as a regular guy, humble and approachable. One of my friends, Sam Mastrogiacomo, flew in the same squadron and remembers the day Stewart was aboard to give his pilot a check ride. All the crew found a reason to work their way into the cockpit for a peek at the Hollywood legend. Sam found Stewart to be genuine and approachable to officers and enlisted men alike, and a very fine superior officer.

Stewart flew with the 445th Bomb Group, US Eighth Air Force, out of England. He was a command pilot on many of these missions, and one of his planes was 'Four Yanks and a Jerk'.

Stewart posed for this LIFE cover in the town square of his home town of Indiana, Pennsylvania.

Stewart was already a famous actor when he volunteered for duty. He ended the war as a command pilot and stayed in the Air Force Reserves until 1968, when he retired as a Brig. General. His last mission was on a B-52 Bomber.

Jimmy Stewart was a true American hero and we can honor his memory by using his stamp till it is sold out. I will use no other until then.

Jimmy Stewart's leather flight jacket is on display in Dayton, Ohio.

God bless you, Jimmy!


Les said...

He was the favorite actor of both my wife and I before we even knew he was in the Air Corps.

Our favorite movies of his are the Hitchcock's: Vertigo, Rear Window and The Man who Knew too Much. Followed by Philadelphia Story and, of course, It's a Wonderful Life.

Thanks for the heads up about the stamps!

r morris said...

Les, he's one of my favorites, too. Loved him in Hitchcock's films. Of course, no Christmas is complete without at least one viewing of 'It's a Wonderful Life'. If you remember in the movie, Jimmy's character is 4-F because he ruptured his eardrum rescuing his kid brother. He's very sad about this---until his kid brother saves a whole bunch of men in the war (which never would have happened if not for Jimmy's character, George Banks). The movie shows us that the impact we make on earth is great though we seldom see or feel it in our lifetime, because we do not know what to look for. Simple human goodness, looking out for our brothers and sisters on the journey, is what it's all about--and IAWL tells that better than any movie before or since.

Les said...

I ordered my two sheets tonight, Rob. Thanks for this post. I probably would have missed them otherwise.

To Jimmy Stewart: Thank you for the superb classic American cinema and thank you for your incredible valor!

Tanks said...

The aircraft was actually called "Nine Yanks and a Jerk" since the B-24 Liberator had a crew of ten.
Paul James

Unknown said...

My grandfather was one of the mechanics for Jimmy Stewart. He was one of the 9 yanks and would always laugh and say Jimmy was the jerk, and then quickly go on to say how great of a man and leader he was