James Elms Swett (1920 - 2009)

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Nicknames: "Swett"
Birthplace: Seattle, King, Washington, USA
Death: Died in Redding, Shasta, California, USA
Managed by: Marvin Caulk, (C)
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Immediate Family

About James Elms Swett

The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to First Lieutenant James Elms Swett (MCSN: 0-9601), United States Marine Corps (Reserve), for extraordinary heroism and personal valor at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty, as Division Leader of Marine Fighting Squadron TWO HUNDRED TWENTY-ONE (VMF-221), Marine Air Group TWELVE (MAG-12), FIRST Marine Aircraft Wing, in action against enemy Japanese aerial forces in the Solomons Islands area, 7 April 1943. In a daring flight to intercept a wave of 150 Japanese planes, First Lieutenant Swett unhesitatingly hurled his four-plane division into action against a formation of 15 enemy bombers and personally exploded three hostile planes in midair with accurate and deadly fire during his dive. Although separated from his division while clearing the heavy concentration of anti-aircraft fire, he boldly attacked six enemy bombers, engaged the first four in turn and, unaided, shot down all in flames. Exhausting his ammunition as he closed the fifth Japanese bomber, he relentlessly drove his attack against terrific opposition which partially disabled his engine, shattered the windscreen and slashed his face. In spite of this, he brought his battered plane down with skillful precision in the water off Tulagi without further injury. The superb airmanship and tenacious fighting spirit which enabled First Lieutenant Swett to destroy seven enemy bombers in a single flight were in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.

Action Date: April 7, 1943

Service: Marine Corps

Rank: First Lieutenant

Company: Marine Fighting Squadron 221 (VMF-221)

Regiment: Marine Air Group 12 (MAG-12)

Division: 1st Marine Aircraft Wing



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Lt. James E. Swett, Medal of Honor's Timeline

June 15, 1920
Seattle, King, Washington, USA
Age 23
January 18, 2009
Age 88
Redding, Shasta, California, USA
Igo, Shasta, California, USA