Other Notable Deaths


January 26, 2009


World War II Medal of Honor recipient

James E. Swett, a Marine Corps pilot who received the Medal of Honor for shooting down seven Japanese bombers, died Jan. 18 at Mercy Medical Center in Redding, Calif., after a long illness, his son, John Swett, said Saturday.

Mr. Swett was a 22-year-old first lieutenant leading his first combat mission on April 4, 1943, when he earned the Medal of Honor. He brought down a Japanese dive bomber and then shot down two more. One of the wings of his plane was damaged by anti-aircraft flak, but he shot down four more bombers.

Mr. Swett had to bring his damaged plane down into the ocean off Tulagi island; he hit hard, breaking his nose. He was rescued by a small Coast Guard boat.

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