2d Lt James Albert Calhoun
March 3, 1917 – September 8, 1944
Unit: 332nd Fighter Group, 100th Fighter Squadron
Service # O-82483
James Albert Calhoun was born in 1917 in Duluth, Minnesota to James Calhoun and Eva Miller. His father moved the family to Bridgeport, Connecticut and in 1930, was working as a gardener for a private home. It was there that Jimmie attended Central High School, graduating in 1936. In September, he married Grace Rose Carlsen. By 1940, they had two children, and Jimmie was working as a laborer for a machine company. A third child was born in 1941, before Jimmie enrolled in the Tuskegee Air Pilot Program.
He left his wife and three children in 1943 and entered the training program. Calhoun graduated March 12, 1944, from flight training at Tuskegee Army Air Field in Alabama.
After graduating, he was stationed with the 100th Fighter Squadron, 332nd Fighter Group, based in Ramitelli Airfield in Italy. He flew a P-51 as escort on bombing missions.
On September 8, 1944, the second lieutenant was part of a strafing mission at Ilondza Airdrome in Yugoslavia. The attack destroyed 18 enemy planes, but Calhoun’s P-51 Mustang was hit by flak, sending his plane tumbling.
“I saw Lt. Calhoun fly into the ground over the target,” Capt. William T. Mattison wrote in a military report. “Apparently while in an almost vertical bank, his left wing hit the ground and sheared off and his plane burst into flames. I don’t believe he had a chance to get out of the ship.”
James Albert Calhoun is buried or memorialized at Plot G Row 1 Grave 60, Sicily-Rome American Cemetery, Nettuno, Italy. This is an American Battle Monuments Commission location. According to a government database, he was awarded an Air Medal and a Purple Heart for his military service. There is an epitaph that stands in Massachusetts National Cemetery and it is here where his wife, Grace is buried.