It was around 8 a.m. when they began their approach. Shortly before getting to their target, anti-aircraft fire ripped between the number one and two engines. Badly damaged, the crippled bomber had to leave the formation.
Along with the aircraft, B-17 pilot 1st. Lt. George “Frankie” Wilson, Jr was also badly injured. With on-board communications down, co-pilot Lt. Vernon C. Atkinson, went to tell the crew that they would have to bail out. As the crew began jumping out, Wilson quickly realized that he was too injured to jump from the incapacitated plane. Wilson went down with the plane, ensuring the crew had ample time to jump, while avoiding significant landmarks on the ground. On July 8, 1944, the heavily armed bomber exploded into an empty field in northern France.