December 24, 1944

While leading a formation of Boeing B-17s over Liege, Belgium, Brig. Gen. Frederick W. Castle’s aircraft loses an engine and he relinquishes the formation lead. His aircraft is immediately attacked by German fighters, but he refuses to drop his bomb load (which would have allowed him to pick up speed) since he is over friendly troops. Castle also refuses to leave the B-17 until his crew bails out. After another German attack, the B-17 explodes and the aircraft plunges earthward, carrying Castle to his death. For his dedication to his crew, Castle is posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. The now closed Castle AFB, Calif., was named for him.