Among the thousands of American aviators who launched from England on February 20, 1944, the first day of historic "Big Week," was William Lawley. Lawley was a quiet southerner from Leeds, Alabama. Flying a newly painted B-17 as a member of the 305th Bomb Group, Lawley's target for the day was an aircraft engine factory near Leipzig...deep in Germany. As the group neared the target, a crisis occurred on Lawley's WD-P. Unable to drop its bombs...the heavily loaded B-17 soon fell behind the formation and received the Luftwaffe's full attention. The painting depicts the stricken Fortress alone an instant after a 20mm cannon shell had mortally wounded the copilot. A second later the aircraft will nose over out of control. Thousands of feet lower, Lawley will regain control and then nurse the badly damaged aircraft and its dead and wounded crew back to a crash landing at the first available English airfield. For this feat, Lawley would receive his nation's highest award...The Medal of Honor.Signed by: Bill Lawley and Curtis LeMaySize: 18" x 24" William Robert "Bill" Lawley, Jr. (August 23, 1920 – May 29, 1999) was a United States Army Air Forces officer and a recipient of the United States military's highest decoration—the Medal of Honor—for his actions in World War II.
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