When Doil Maxwell went into the Navy in 1943, he expected to fight World War Two from a ship. Instead he was destined to "fly above the angry sea".
On December 2nd, 1944, Maxwell's B-24 was sent on a routine mission to observe and photograph shipping at the Japanese port and oil refinery at Balikpapan, Borneo.
About fifty miles from their destination, his plane was attacked by twelve Japanese fighters and a Japanese dive bomber. Before the record setting air fight was over, the B-24 gunners had shot down five fighters and sent five more burning toward home. The fact that Maxwell had ordered double amunition loaded on the B-24 helped them get through the one hour twenty minute continuous battle.
The fact that Maxwell's plane made it back to base could only be described as a miracle. The B-24 had 280 holes in it, the hydraulic system had been shot out, the landing gear damaged, and the crew had to empty thier canteens and their urine into the empty system reservoir to bring the plane in. The plane literally made it in "on a wing and a prayer".