South Pittsburg in Marion County, Tennessee — The American South (East South Central)
James Thomas Fitz-Gerald, Jr.
— 1920-1948 —
Born July 13, 1920 in South Pittsburg, James “Jim” Thomas Fitz-Gerald, Jr. was appointed to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, in 1940. Interested in aviation since childhood, he graduated in the first class of “Wings of West Point”. Assigned in April 1944 to the Eighth Air Force in England, he was taken prisoner in August after his plane was shot down over Germany during his twenty-eighth combat mission. He was a POW in Stalag Luft III Prison until liberated in April 1945.
After World War II, Fitz-Gerald, a U.S. Air Force Captain and decorated veteran, was assigned jet-propelled aircraft development at Wright Field in Dayton, Ohio. Transferred to California's Muroc Air Base, Fitz-Gerald piloted Bell's "XS-1" rocket plane to Mach 1.1 in his first attempt on February 24, 1948, to become the second man to break the sound barrier. Fitz-Gerald died on September 20, 1948, from injuries sustained in a September 9 plane crash in Van Nuys, California. He is buried at West Point.
Erected 2006 by Tennessee
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Air & Space • Exploration • War, World II. In addition, it is included in the Tennessee Historical Commission series list. A significant historical month for this entry is February 1862.
Location. 35° 0.751′ N, 85° 42.367′ W. Marker is in South Pittsburg, Tennessee, in Marion County. Marker is at the intersection of Elm Avenue and 3rd Street, on the right when traveling south on Elm Avenue. Located in front of the American Legion Hall. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 300 Elm Ave, South Pittsburg TN 37380, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 5 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Christmas Night Shootout (within shouting distance of this marker); Birthplace of Jobyna Lancaster Ralston-Arlen (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Fort McCook (approx. 0.7 miles away); Bean-Roulston Graveyard (approx. 1.8 miles away); Chiaha (approx. 2.2 miles away); Trail of Tears (approx. 2.6 miles away in Alabama); Bridgeport (approx. 4.7 miles away in Alabama); Rocky Springs Church of Christ (approx. 4.7 miles away in Alabama). Touch for a list and map of all markers in South Pittsburg.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on October 21, 2012, by Judith Barber of Marietta, Georgia. This page has been viewed 595 times since then and 18 times this year. Last updated on April 8, 2015, by J. Makali Bruton of Querétaro, Mexico. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on October 21, 2012, by Judith Barber of Marietta, Georgia. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.