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James Elms Swett
Birth: Jun. 15, 1920
Seattle
King County
Washington, USA
Death: Jan. 18, 2009
Redding
Shasta County
California, USA

World War II Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient. He shot down seven Japanese bombers in fifteen minutes, becoming an ace and earning the Medal of Honor, on his first combat mission of the war. Raised in San Mateo, California, Colonel Swett had an early interest in aviation, and earned a private pilot's license, prior to joining the Navy on August 26, 1941. Ordered to flight training the next month, he received his wings in San Diego, and was offered the choice of a commission in either the Navy or the Marine Corps. Electing the Marine Corps, he was transferred to Guadalcanal as part of VMF-121, flying F4F Wildcats. On April 7, 1943, he and his four plane formation faced a group of 150 Japanese bombers, with fighter escort, over the Solomon Islands. Despite being hit repeatedly, he continued to attack the bombers until forced to ditch his plane in Tulagi Harbor. For his actions, President Roosevelt was later to award him the Medal of Honor. He recovered rapidly from his wounds, qualified in F4U Corsairs, and was again shot down over New Guinea in July, 1943. Over the course of the war, he flew 103 combat missions, and had 15.5 confirmed "kills". After the fighting ended, he remained in the Marine Corps Reserve, and commanded VMF-141 at Naval Air Station, Alameda, California. Recalled to active duty during the Korean War, he was not deployed, as the Marine Corps declined to risk the life of a Medal of Honor winner. Colonel Swett retired from the Marine Corps Reserve in 1970. In civilian life, he worked in his father's industrial machinery business in San Francisco, running it from 1960 until his retirement in 1983. He was a frequent speaker for school and military groups. The Colonel's awards include the Medal of Honor, two Purple Hearts, eight Distinguished Flying Crosses, and the Air Medal. (bio by: Bob Hufford) 
 
Family links: 
 Spouse:
  Lois Aileen Swett (1924 - 1999)*
 
 Children:
  James Elms Swett (1946 - 2013)*
 
*Calculated relationship
 
Burial:
Northern California Veterans Cemetery
Igo
Shasta County
California, USA
Plot: Section 4, Site 329
GPS (lat/lon): 40.47815, -122.54318
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: Bob Hufford
Record added: Jan 24, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 33193032
James Elms Swett
Added by: Bob Hufford
 
James Elms Swett
Added by: Don Morfe
 
James Elms Swett
Added by: Kevin Mansfield
 
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