2 March 1945
The 97th Bomb Group, 340th and 341st Bomb Squadron of the Fifteenth Air Force was stationed at Amendola, a small 3600-foot airfield and hard-stands located near Foggia in southern Italy. The facilities were not very desirable and the airmen lived in tents.
1st Lt. William J. Gray, Jr. was the pilot of the 341st Bomb Squadron crew that was shot down on 2 March 1945. The mission that day with fair weather was to aerial bomb the city of Linz, Austria. At approximately 1325 over the target, the B-17 with serial number 44-6849 took a direct hit by flak in the number four engine. The aircraft was forced to leave the formation, smoke coming from the bomb bay. The tail section of aircraft came off causing the remaining plane to go into a spin. Shortly thereafter a secondary explosion occurred which caused the wings to come off the aircraft. The entire crew bailed out and six parachutes were seen to open. The aircraft crashed about 40 mile east of Linz. Missing Air Crew Report 12812 was filed after the plane failed to return to base. All crew members were captured and become POWs.