Womack, James

James “Jim” Womack, Major, USAF (Retired)
March 10, 1922 – March 16, 2011

James “Jim” Womack, 89, a retired U.S. Air Force major, passed away Wednesday, March 16, 2011, of natural causes.

He was a veteran of World War II, Korea and Vietnam. He was a devoted husband, father, grandfather and friend.

Burial: His ashes will be interred at 10 a.m. Wednesday, March 30, at Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery.

Maj. Womack was born March 10, 1922, to Samuel and Katherine Lorey Womack in Columbus, Ohio.

He started his military career in 1941, enlisting in the Army Air Corps. He married his beloved wife, Miss Eileen Robinson, on July 8, 1942. In 1943 he entered Air Cadet training at Sheppard Air Force Base. He became a B-17 pilot, later transitioning to the B-29. In Korea he flew aerial reconnaissance missions and earned the Distinguished Flying Cross. By May 1952, he started helicopter pilot training. In 1956 he was assigned to Luke Air Force in Arizona. During this assignment Maj. Womack made a hazardous helicopter flight into the Grand Canyon after two commercial jetliners collided in midair, crashing into the canyon. Maj. Womack became the first helicopter pilot to successfully carry the rescue team to the crash site. This heroic feat earned him an oak leaf cluster to add to his Distinguished Flying Cross, presented by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. He also was presented the National Flight Safety Foundation award that year for his accomplishment. That next year he was given the opportunity to do most of the flying scenes for the movie “The Lady Takes A Flyer.”

In April 1965, Maj. Womack retired from the Air Force, having earned numerous military decorations including the Air Medal with one oak leaf cluster, the Air Force Commendation Medal, the American Campaign Medal, the World War II Victory Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Korean Service Medal, the United Nations Service Medal and the Air Force Longevity Service Ribbon with three oak leaf clusters.

Survivors: His wife of 68 years, Eileen Womack; son and daughter-in-law, John and Stephanie Womack; granddaughters, Ryan Womack Merritt and husband, Robert, Paige Womack Joyce and husband, Scott, and Abby Womack; great-grandchildren, Presley and Carter Merritt, and Aiden and Landry Joyce; and extended family and friends.

Published in Star-Telegram on Mar. 27, 2011.

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