Second Lt. Franz Stigler was on the ground in Germany in December 1943 when he spotted a US B17 bomber flying low over his airbase.
Fueled by anger - American bombers had killed his brother and fellow soldiers throughout the war - Stigler jumped in his plane and took off after the B17.
As he approached it, he noticed that the tail gunner was dead, and the rest of the crew was huddled inside the plane tending to injured men.
There was no way the plane could have fought off Lt. Stigler in it's damaged state. And what's more, Stigler was an ace fighter.
One more kill, and he would be awarded the Knight's Cross, German's highest award for valor. However, when Stigler flew up close to the B17 and locked eyes with the pilot, he knew he couldn't shoot this plane down.
Instead, he nodded at the American pilot and moved into position to fly next to the plane in formation. That way, no German plane or gun on the ground would shoot it down.
Stigler escorted the plane over the North Sea before returning to Germany.
Years later, the American pilot Stigler had spared, Second Lt. Charles Brown, felt an unrelenting urge to find this merciful soldier.
He began searching for Stigler, and placed an ad in a German newspaper. Stigler, now living in Vancouver, saw it and contacted Brown. It was emotional experience for both men when they finally met in Florida. Stigler proclaimed, "I love you, Charlie."
The men became good pals, taking fishing trips together and visit each other's homes. From worst enemies to best friends.