SIERRA VISTA—Our beloved Jim Kidd passed away. James Lee Kidd passed away on 20 May, 2021 just five days after celebrating his 95th birthday. He was laid to rest in the National Veteran’s Cemetery in Sierra Vista. James was born on 15 May, 1926 in Fort Worth, Texas, and adopted by Frank and Beryl Kidd. He spent much time on Worth Ranch Scout Camp in Palo Pinto, Texas where his dad was the Ranger. James attended his last two years of High School at a private preparatory school at John Tarleton Agricultural College in Stephenville, Texas. In June of 1943, two weeks after turning 17, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and a year later was an Aerial Tail Gunner with Torpedo Squadron One (VT-1) onboard the USS Yorktown (CV-10). During the summer of 1944, James participated in numerous WWII Naval Campaigns in the Pacific and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, two Air Medals and a Purple Heart.
After WWII James left active duty and was in the Naval Reserves in Seattle, Washington for five years where he met his first wife, Solveig Marian Syse. He later returned to active duty and converted to become a Photo Intelligenceman (PT). During the Korean and Vietnam Wars he served on the ground as a Combat Photographer and was awarded the Bronze Star (w/V) and two more Purple Hearts. In 1956 while stationed with Heavy Attack Squadron Five (HATRON-Five) in Jacksonville, Florida he met his second wife, Edna Earle Bridges.
After retiring from the Navy in 1969 James worked as a Private Investigator for a few years before reconnecting with Wilma Jean “Nicky” Mixon, an old friend from John Tarleton. James relocated to Texas where he and Nicky married in 1974. James and Nicky drove trucks hauling chemicals for many years. At the same time, James was a Freelance Photographer, taking pictures on their cross country trips, and submitting his photos to various outlets. Texas Tech University has over 11,000 of his war photographs on display in their Vietnam War Archives. In 1980 James and Nicky retired from trucking and moved to Tombstone, Arizona to pursue photography full time. James moved to Sierra Vista about 15 years ago and was active with the Huachuca and Benson Art Associations where he displayed his photography.
James is survived by four of his five children, Tracie, Michael, Frank and Leigh Ann. He was preceded in death by a daughter, Debra.
Jim was interned to a vault at Southern Arizona Veterans Cemetery.