Be it for humans, aliens, birds, or otherwise, the skies have always been the frontier to conquer and fear. In times of war, generally speaking, most people feared the skies, which were a place reserved for a select few, and with that exclusivity also came a new set of codes. Throughout WWI and WWII numerous accounts from diaries and first-hand interviews have recounted the high respect and honor pilots would show each other. Enemy pilots who managed to bring the fight to the ground were recorded as shooting at their own soldiers if they set to aid them in killing off the enemy pilot!
In 1943 WWII pilot Charlie Brown encountered firsthand the honor of the sky when he and his crew in their B-17 bomber had just completed a mission over German territory but had taken heavy fire in their survival against 15 enemy planes! Unfortunately, that hard-won survival cost them the death of one crew member and six heavily wounded. And worst yet, the tail-gun compartment was lost.
On their flight path home, a German plane suddenly flew up right next to them, saluted the pilot, and flew away without firing a shot. Later on, history revealed that the pilot was Franz Stigler, a 26-year-old ace fighter pilot with 22 victories! One more victory would have awarded him the Knight’s Cross. But on that day, he said that when he noticed the plane was not engaging him in battle, he flew close enough to see the gunner badly bleeding and other airmen quickly trying to patch each other up.
Words from his training under Lt Gustav Roedel rang in his ears: “Honor is everything here. If I ever see or hear you shooting a man in a parachute, I will shoot you down myself. You follow the rules of war for you - not for the enemy - you fight by rules to keep your humanity.”
With those words, Stigler said he simply could not shoot down the B-17 bomber. They weren’t able to fight back, and there was no honor in shooting them down.
Now it's your turn to show off how much you know about the planes and the pilots that dominated the skies!