This is a story about hundreds of very young, very brave men who overcame their self-preservation instincts to fight in one of the most costly and fiercely fought aerial engagements in history. It was Mission 115 flown by the 8th U.S. Air Force October 14, 1943 (this was the second raid on Schweinfurt). The objective was to cripple Germany s ball-bearing manufacturing capability, 50 percent of which was believed to be in Schweinfurt. A daytime raid, it included 291 B-17's based in England. Sixty aircraft with 10-man crews were shot down, an additional 5 crashed in England, 12 others were so severely damaged they were scrapped, and 121 were battle damaged. Hundreds of Americans were killed, wounded or imprisoned for the remainder of the war. There were few winners, mostly losers in the air or on the ground. The Mission Commander, Col. Budd Peaslee, and Lead Pilot Captain J. Kemp McLaughlin (now a retired Brigadier General [BG]) sat side-by-side as they led the 291 plane, 30 mile-long, bomber stream. The book includes BG McLaughlin s first- hand descriptions of the mission as only the lead pilot could recount. None of the American crew members would forget the rat-tat-tat sound of their machine guns or the sight of airplanes flown by friends disintegrating or simply blowing up as they flew toward their Schweinfurt target or back to their bases in England. Personal narratives from the men who flew this mission and after-action reports say much about these gut-wrenching experiences, but where, when and how did it all start? Equally important, how did it end; how did once bitter enemies become lifelong friends who do all they can to prevent such carnage in the future?"