"For extraordinary heroism and personal valor above and beyond the call of duty, as division leader of Marine Fighting Squadron 221 with Marine Aircraft Group 12, 1st 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, 1st Lt. Swett unhesitatingly hurled his 4-plane division into action against a formation of 15 enemy bombers and personally exploded 3 hostile planes in midair with accurate and deadly fire during his dive. Although separated from his division while clearing the heavy concentration of antiaircraft fire, he boldly attacked 6 enemy bombers, engaged the first 4 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 1st Lt. Swett to destroy 7 enemy bombers in a single flight were in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service."
Prints signed by Jim Swett, MOH U.S. Marine Corps Ace & Medal of Honor Recipient
On April 7, 1943, a formation of Japanese fighters and dive-bombers was headed toward Tulagi Harbor. Scrambled from nearby Guadalcanal, USMC 1st Lt. James E. Swett of VMF-221 led his four F4F Wildcat division into the fray. Swett pursued and shot down three D3A2 Val enemy bombers before leveling out. Moments later, his Wildcat was hit by "friendly" fire. In spite of his damage, Swett dogged the fleeing Vals, scoring four more confirmed kills, and one probable, becoming an ace in his first combat mission. For this action, Lt. Swett was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.
"Wildcat Fury" was awarded the "Best of Show" honor in May 2007 at the prestigious annual art competition at the National Museum of Naval Aviation in Pensacola, Florida. The original will be on display at the museum for the next year.
James SWETT, MOH - USMC Ace and Congressional Medal of Honor recipient