Only seconds from the target at the marshaling yards at Saarbrucken, Germany, and with three of their Boeing B-17’s engines on fire, fire raging in the cockpit, an inoperative interphone system, and with a wounded flight engineer and a radio operator whose arm had been severed below the elbow, 1st Lt. Donald J. Gott (pilot) and 2nd Lt. William E. Metzger Jr. (copilot) make the decision to hit the target and then try to fly to friendly territory in an attempt to save the radio operator’s life. Proceeding alone, the crippled bomber makes it to Allied held territory where most of the crew bails out safely. The flight crew then banks to land in an open field. At an altitude of 100 feet, the B-17 explodes, crashes, and explodes again. The three crewmen are killed instantly. For their loyalty to their crew and for making the ultimate sacrifice, Gott and Metzger are posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.
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