TSgt Thomas J. Minnick III was the bombardier of the B-17 42-97879 when it took off from Station 121 in Bassingbourn, UK, on a mission to bomb the German airfield in Chartres. The plane suffered a direct hit from flak at 1453 hours. With two engines on fire the crew tried to bail out, but only Sgt Laurence E. Doyle was able to jump. The others were trapped inside the aircraft. The bomb-laden aircraft exploded in midair at 1500 feet.