April 11, 1944

Lt Edward Michael received his medal after cannon shells riddled his B-17 Flying Fortress, wounding himself, the copilot, and most crewmen. As the crew left the plane, he noticed that the bombardier’s parachute was badly damaged. Thus, he decided to try a crash landing. For 45 minutes, he evaded German fighters before taking the crippled plane down to 100 feet above the ground over France. Amazingly, the B-17 flew across the English Channel to a RAF base. With the wheels and flaps inoperable, and the bomb bay doors jammed open, the seriously wounded Michael still had enough strength left to skillfully bring the bomber in on its belly.