Bolling dedicates theater to legendary actor, remarkable Airman
By William J. Sharp, 11th Wing Public Affairs
/ Published August 17, 2007
BOLLING AFB, D.C. -- When 11th Wing officials here officially changed the name of Building. 52 to the Brigadier General Jimmy Stewart Theater on Aug. 13, the old building had finally come full circle, historically speaking.
In the 1940s, the facility served as the base theater. In recent years it was known as the technology center. The facility provides technology and classroom space for continued training and education of Airmen. Coursework is available for chaplains, military lawyers, security forces, civilian employees, civil engineers and many others. Modes of training include testing, teleconferencing, computer support, learning centers, interactive courseware and more. On evenings and weekends, college courses are held in the facility. Last year, the facility provided training for an estimated 37,000 members.
Among the some 200 people in attendance were Mr. Carson Greene, president, Jimmy Maitland Stewart Museum Foundation, Indiana, Pa.; Col. Terry L. Ross, 11th Wing vice commander; and Mr. Andrew J. Stephens, 11th Wing historian.
"Jimmy Stewart was a great American, a pilot who flew over Germany, a very good actor and businessman, and the all-around guy from Indiana, Pa.," said Mr. Greene. "He made so many good films, and he never had any scandal in his life. We are thankful to the 11th Wing and Bolling Air Force Base for helping keep Jimmy Stewart's name, reputation and image alive in the hearts and minds of all."
"The Stewart Theater offers Bolling members two invaluable assets that were near and dear to General Stewart," Colonel Ross said. "First, it provides resources necessary for our Airmen to advance their professional and personal lives. Second, with the dedication in honor of the general, we have a direct link to our heritage and warrior ethos. I believe General Stewart would be proud to be associated with this enterprise."
"Jimmy Stewart embodied the underlying truth behind the spirit of service of our ancestral Airmen during World War II," Mr. Stephens said. He described Stewart as someone with strong core values who preferred recognition for the Air Force rather than for himself.
"That is why Jimmy Stewart was such an outstanding Airman - because our core values, service before self, were the very principles by which he lived his life. That is what makes him so inspiring today," Mr. Stephens said.
"He could have sat out World War II, but he chose to serve," Mr. Stephens continued. "He could have served in safety and comfort, but he chose to fly into battle. We hear so little about his military achievements today because he believed that it was more about the team than the individual and he saw himself as only a player on a bigger stage. What's not to admire about that sort of team spirit?"
In honor of General Stewart's distinguished military and film careers, it is fitting the first video shown in the newly dedicated theater was a 10-minute Air Force recruitment spot he did as a lieutenant. Wing officials said Jimmy Stewart in uniform and in front of the camera highlights the outstading achievements in both areas of his life.