|STEWART JOHN S||1st Lieutenant||76FTR||07-23-1943||Unknown||Unknown||WW2||Unknown||3|
|STEWART JOHN S||1st Lieutenant||76FTR||08-24-1943||Unknown||Unknown||WW2||Unknown||2|
|STEWART JOHN S||1st Lieutenant||76FTR||09-06-1943||Unknown||Unknown||WW2||Unknown||1|
|STEWART JOHN S||1st Lieutenant||76FTR||09-10-1943||Unknown||Unknown||WW2||Unknown||1|
|STEWART JOHN S||Captain||76FTR||01-11-1944||Unknown||Unknown||WW2||Unknown||1|
|STEWART JOHN S||Captain||76FTR||02-12-1944||Unknown||Unknown||WW2||Unknown||1|
World War II flying ace shot down 9 planes
Gazette, The (Colorado Springs), Oct 5, 2004 | by DEEDEE CORRELL THE GAZETTE
John Smith Stewart became an Air Force legend in the space of 11 months.
On July 23, 1943, he shot down two Betty bombers and an Oscar fighter over China. On Aug. 18, he shot down two more planes, earning the title "ace." During the next eight months, he destroyed another four enemy planes.
The World War II veteran died Sunday. He was 85.
"We're saddened by the loss of this war hero, a true American hero," said Jenna McMullin, a spokeswoman for Peterson Air Force Base, where a replica of the Flying Tiger P-40 plane Stewart flew stands at the intersection of Peterson and Ent.
Stewart was born Sept. 13, 1919, in Basin, Wyo. He attended Colorado A&M College -- now Colorado State University -- before enlisting in the U.S. Army Air Corps in 1941.
The young lieutenant first served in the Panama Canal Zone, flying P-39s. In 1942, he was transferred to China as a P-40 pilot.
He distinguished himself in combat, shooting down nine planes from 1943 to 1944. His decorations include a Silver Star, two Distinguished Flying Crosses and three Air Medals.
He retired at the age of 52.
He didn't pursue another career but decided to enjoy his retirement in Monument, his wife, Lynn Stewart, said Monday.
Stewart did volunteer work for the Republican Party, played golf at the Air Force Academy and worked as a ski instructor some weekends. He busied himself with the construction of the family's home in Woodmoor. One thing he didn't do was continue flying, although he remained interested in planes, Lynn Stewart said.
"He never got to fly the B-15 -- he was too old. But he wanted to fly those," she said.
Otherwise, he didn't dwell much on the war, his wife said.
"After the war, everyone talked about it for a while," she said. "Eventually that wears off."
In recent years, she said, he attended graduation ceremonies at the Air Force Academy to bestow airmanship awards. The cadets seemed to look up to him, his wife said. "They don't fly missions like they did in the olden days," she said. "Nowadays, you push buttons."
He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Lynn; his son, John P. Stewart; and one daughter, Dale Gallagher.
Graveside services will be at 12:30 p.m. Friday at Fort Logan National Cemetery in Denver.
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