James Stewart – Chief of Staff of the 2nd Combat Bombardment Wing

Many will know James Stewart as one of the best Hollywood actors of the 1930-1970’s. What fewer people will know is his service with the US Air Force.
He did not only star in movies about the US Airforce such as Strategic Air Command:

He actually was a very active combat pilot in the Second World War. More precisely, he was the first of the Hollywood stars of his generation to enlist. Footnote: The very manly John Wayne never served, although pressured by his friends. He always found excuses not to serve.

Back on topic: James Stewart had been an accomplished pilot before the war started and was rather disappointed when he was not allowed to join the Army Aircorps (he was too light). With the help of a Hollywood friend, he put on some pounds and went into action, and I mean action.
When the War finished, Stewart had flown over 20 combat mission in B-24 Liberators over Nazi-occupied Europe.

B-24 Liberator

Stewart even continued to fly after he had finished 20 missions and was no longer required to do so. When the War finished, he had made it from private to colonel, and all because of what he did, not because of who he was. Even after the war, he continued to serve with the US Air Force, although in a far less active capacity, since he continued acting as well. Still, he served for 27 years all in all and eventually made it to brigadier general.

James Stewart, Brigadier General, US Air Force