Air Force Veteran James Maris is today's Veteran of the Day.

Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Air Force Veteran James Maris, who served during World War II and retired from the Reserves in 1979.

James Maris was born in Sept. 13, 1919 in Lafayette, Colorado. He grew up with the aspirations of becoming a professional pilot.

He left the University of Illinois to join the Army Air Corps when he was 23 years old. Maris then spent a few years training as a pilot. He was a part of the first group of B-24s to cross the South Atlantic without stopping. He also flew a combat mission on D-Day. In total, he flew 30 missions.

In 1952, he attended the University of Illinois where he received a degree in education. Three years later, Maris attended Purdue University where he taught an aviation program. While at Purdue University, Maris worked on restoring many aircraft for the Air Force Museum. He also served as chairman of the National Aviation Technician Education Council and was a prominent member of the aviation community.

Maris retired from the Air Force Reserve in 1979 as a lieutenant colonel.

On May 10, 1984, he retired from teaching. He dedicated his time to volunteering for a number of great causes, including the United Food Pantry and his church.

Maris passed away Jan. 9, 2008.

Nominate a Veteran for #VeteranOfTheDay

Do you want to light up the face of a special Veteran? Have you been wondering how to tell your Veteran they are special to you? VA’s #VeteranOfTheDay social media feature is an opportunity to highlight your Veteran and his/her service.

It’s easy to nominate a Veteran. All it takes is an email to with as much information as you can put together, along with some good photos. Visit our blog post about nominating to learn how to create the best submission.

Veterans History Project

This #VeteranOfTheDay profile was created with interviews submitted to the Veterans History Project. The project collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war Veterans so that future generations may hear directly from Veterans and better understand the realities of war. Find out more at


Editor: Michelle Cannon

Fact checker: Kat Blanchard

Graphic artist: Robert McPherson

Share this story

Published on Oct. 9, 2019

Estimated reading time is 1.9 min.

Views to date: 106

One Comment

  1. Robert Bostic October 9, 2019 at 12:03 pm

    We honor the service of James Maris.

Comments are closed.

More Stories

  • Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Spiros “Steve” Pisanos, a Greek national who flew for the British Royal Air Force as an American pilot during World War II.

  • Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Marine Corps Veteran Stephen W. Pless, who served in the Vietnam War and is the only Marine aviator to be awarded a Medal of Honor during the war.

  • Alan Shepard served in the Navy aboard a destroyer and as a test pilot. He was a member of the NASA Mercury Seven and became the first American to travel into space.