Since Broomfield resident Adam Makos was 15 years old, he’s been telling the stories of the World War II veterans, bringing their stories to life.
“I’ve been motivated by the stories of my grandfathers in particular. Both had served in World War II and they took me to air shows, they took me to air museums and they kind of planted a seed in that black and write era of theirs,” said Makos.
Makos only wrote about the Allies’ point of view.
The American soldier to be specific. As far as Makos was concerned, anybody who fought for Germany was a Nazi.
That was until he met Franz Stigler. “Franz Stigler was a German fighter pilot. He was an officer, about 26 years old when the famous encounter happened. He was a good man trapped on the wrong side of World War II.”
In 1943, over the skies of Germany flying his Messerschmitt 109, Stigler spotted a badly damaged but still flying B-17 flying fortress piloted by American Charlie Brown.
The crippled plane was an easy target. The German ace was duty-bound to destroy the bomber. Instead, Stigler safely escorted it out of Germany. Franz Stigler said in a 1980′s interview, “I just couldn’t shoot.”
Years after the war, the two pilots met. “It was like meeting a family member. A brother you haven’t seen for 40 years,” said American B-17 pilot Charlie Brown.
The two enemies became best friends. The story changed author Adam Makos. “I’ve been telling war stories for a long time, and after discovering that there were good men on both sides, I never looked at it the same way again.”
The question Makos never thought to ask, can good men be found on both sides of a bad war, was answered.