After Carole Lombard’s early death in a fatal plane crash (returning from a war bonds campaign in the midwest in 1942) her husband, Clarke Gable, enlisted for service in the USAF bomber command. Gable flew five combat missions, including one to Germany, as an observer-gunner in B-17 Flying Fortresses between May 4 and September 23, 1943, earning the Air Medal and the Distinguished Flying Cross for his efforts. During one of the missions, Gable’s aircraft was damaged by flak and attacked by fighters, which knocked out one of the engines and shot up the stabilizer. In the raid on Germany, one crewman was killed and two others were wounded, and flak went through Gable’s boot and narrowly missed his head. When word of this reached MGM, studio executives began to badger the U.S. Army Air Corps to reassign their valuable screen property to non-combat duty.