My Grandfather was a B24 bomber pilot in Northern Africa and Southern Italy/Sicily during WWII. During a bomb mission in Sicily, his plane was basically destroyed by enemy fighters, flak and artillery. There was barely a square foot of the plane without a hole in it, 3 of 4 engines were completely destroyed, with the fourth at about 50% power, the rudder was completely blown off, along with most of the instruments disabled. He was able to crash land the plane safely in enemy territory with no injuries to his crew, besides his bombardier who was killed by ground artillery early into the mission. After the plane was on the ground, my Grandfather and the 8 remaining crew members fought off a group of enemy soldiers with 4 Colt 45 pistols, and three operable 50 cal machine guns attached to the plane. During the firefight, my Grandpas co-pilot was also killed. The firefight lasted about an hour to hour 1/2 until support arrived.
The actions of my Grandfather earned him a Distinguished Flyers Cross (his second of the war, which is the highest honor a airman could earn at the time) along with a Silver Star for his ability to safely land the aircraft in its unbelievably damaged state, and being able to direct his crew to defend themselves and be rescued with only two casualties.
My Grandfather waited to tell me this story until I was sixteen, and asked me to never bring it up again, which I have honored and completely respect.
After he told me this story, I knew right then that he is my hero. A true hero of war, and a hero as a father and grandfather.
I feel like this story is strait out of a hollywood war movie, and knowing that the aged and frail grandfather I have known my whole life was capable of such an amazing act of courage amazes me every day.