James Archibald Wisehart (1920 – 1996)
James (“Jim”) A. Wisehart was born July 18th, 1920 in Union City, Indiana, to Roy and Fredrica Wisehart, both educators.
In World War 2 he served his country from Dec 1942 to July 1945 in the 8th Air Force, 388th Bomb Group, 560th Bomb Squadron. During that time he captained a B17 Flying Fortress called “Slightly Dangerous.” Jim flew a total of 25 Combat Missions, 6 of those as the lead plane in his group. He was based in Knettishall, Suffolk, England from July 1943 to Jan 1944 flying in the early days before long range P-51 fighter escorts were available to provide cover from German fighter aircraft. Missions with notably high losses included the legendary raids over Regensburg and Schweinfort, which while technically successful, came at great loss to the US and Allied forces. The men whose lot it was to fly the European B-17 missions in those days often had a 1 in 3 chance of survival of any given mission and each were required to complete 25 missions. Jim’s plane was shot down while being piloted by another crew. His valour in 167 combat hours over occupied Europe earned him the Distinguished Flying Cross and Oak Leaf Clusters.
After the war, Jim flew for Eastern Airlines from 1946 until his retirement in 1980 while flying captain on the L1011. Jim was agnostic until 1980, when he made his profession of faith at age 60. He went on to serve his Presbyterian church as a deacon.
Jim died after a prolonged battle with cancer, and without complaint, on 17 Mar 1996.