The scene is a familiar one back in 1944. A damaged B-17 Flying Fortress, down on power and speed, has lost touch with the formation and is alone in a hostile sky - easy prey for the enemy fighter. With crew members injured and unable to bale out, the skipper has elected to stay with his ship in an effort to bring his crew home. All on board knew the drill: Once hit, damaged, slowed down and unable to maintain their position in the formation they were on their own. Losing height and dropping out of the relative safety of the group they would become a prime target for the marauding high-altitude fighters of the Luftwaffe, and their chances of survival would be slim.
But this day was different. Their luck was in! High above, a P-51 Mustang long-range escort pilot, himself low on both fuel and ammunition and weary from combat with German fighters, has assessed the plight of the B-17 and closed in to 'ride shotgun' for the long journey home.