Summary

Gabreski was WWII's top American fighter ace in Europe and later a jet ace during the Korean War.

Conflict Period:
World War II 1
Branch:
Army Air Forces 2
Branch:
Air Force 1
Rank:
Colonel (1950) 3
Rank:
Lieutenant Colonel 2
Birth:
28 Jan 1919 1
Oil City, Pennsylvania 4
Death:
31 Jan 2002 1
Huntington, New York 4
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Pictures & Records (28)

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Gabreski, 1956.jpg
Gabreski, 1956.jpg
Francis Gabreski in pilot suit.jpg
Francis Gabreski in pilot suit.jpg
Gabreski.jpg
Gabreski.jpg
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England, 1944. Bob Johnson (Second From Left, Standing) Poses With Other P-47 Pilots Of Famed 56Th Fighter Group. Standing, From Left: Lt. Colonel Francis S. Gabreski, Johnson, Capt. Walker M. 'Bud' Mahurin, Colonel Robert B. Landry; Seated, Capt. Walte
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ENGLAND-Lot of things happened to Francis S. Gabreski, Oil City, Pa., on 25 January 1944. Seen here steping out of his 8th Air force Thunderbolt on that day, he scored his 11th victory, reached a birthday, and was promoted to Lt. Colonel. The flier
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Lt. Colonel Francis E. Gabreski Equipped With Full Flying Gear, Gets Ready To Climb Into His Republic P-47 Thunderbolt Prior To Take-Off On A Mission. England, 1944.
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During A Moment Of Relaxation In The Squadron Pilot'S Ready Room, Lt. Colonel Francis S. Gabreski (Right) Enjoys A Cup Of Coffee With Lt. Oscar E. Collins, An Old Friend And Basketball Coach From Oil City, Penn., (Left) Reunited For The First Time In Four
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Lt. Colonel Francis S. Gabreski, Just Returning From Another Flight Over Enemy Territory In His Republic P-47 'Thunderbolt', Is Greeted By Swarms Of Faithful Ground Crewmen Who Are Eager To Learn The Details Of His Latest Exploit. On The Wing, Left To Ri
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Lt. Colonel Francis E. Gabreski, Tied For American Fighter Record With 27 Kills To His Credit, Kneels Before Catholic Chaplain John Mcgettigan Of Philadelphia, Penn., As He Receives Holy Communion Immediately After Briefing Prior To Take-Off On A Mission
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Lt. Colonel Francis E. Gabreski Taxis His Republic P-47 'Thunderbolt' Out To The Runway For A Bomber Escort And Strafing Mission. England, 4 July 1944.
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Close-Up Of Lt. Colonel Francis (Gabby) Gabreski, 25, Of Oil City, Pa., Who Shot Down 27 German Aircraft To Tie [The]All-American Record. In Addition To His Other Duties, He Is Commanding Officer Of His Squadron.
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Lt. Colonel Francis E. Gabreski Tests His Oxygen Mask Before Take-Off On A Bomber Escort Mission. England, 4 July 1944.
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Lt. Col. Francis S. Gabreski, U.S. 8th AAF Fighter Pilot from Oil City, Pa.
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Lt. Col. Francis S. Gabreski, Leading Ace Of The 8Th Air Force. P-47 Pilot. England.
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Lt. Colonel Francis S. Gabreski And 1St Lt. Oscar E. Collins, A Special Service Officer Of The 9Th Air Force And Former Basketball Coach Of Colonel Gabreski, Engage In A Friendly Game Of Chess And Talk Over Old Times. England, 4 July 1944.
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Lt. Colonel Francis E. Gabreski, 8Th Fighter Command Republic P-47 'Thunderbolt' Pilot From Oil City, Penn., Shot Down His 28Th German Plane Over France On 5 July 1944 To Become High Scoring Man Eclipsing All U.S. Previous Records. Colonel Gabreski Is A
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Lt. Colonel Francis S. Gabreski Chats With His Loyal Ground Men Who Keep His Republic P-47 Thunderbolt Mechanically Perfect. They Are, Left To Right: Crew Chief S/Sgt. Ralph H. Safford Of Ionia, Michigan; Colonel Gabreski; And Cpl. Felix Schacki Of Gary,
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General Wladyslaw Sikorski Of The Polish Army Presents The Polish Cross Of Gallantry To Capt. Francis S. Gabreski Of Oil City, Penn. Capt. Gabreski, An American Officer Of Polish Descent, Served Part Of The Time With The Polish Air Force. London, Englan
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Col. Gabreski poses with his ground crew for a picture just after returning from a mission over France. The Col. Is commanding officer of his squadron, is the leading Ace of the USAAF with 28 German planes to his credit. He hold the Air Medal with 3
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Lt. Col. Francis S. Gabreski, U.S. Fighter Pilot, and crew: (left to right) Cpl. Felix Schacki, Gary, Ind., ass't crew chief, Col. Gabreski, and S/Sgt. Ralph H. Safofrd, Ionia, Mich.
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Armament Men Must Exercise Extreme Caution In Loading .50 Cal. Machine Guns Of Plane. Extreme Caution Must Be Exercised In Loading .50 Cal. Machine Guns Of A P-47 Fighter. It May Mean The Life Of The Pilot Or Another Victory. These Men Are Experts As You
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Headstone.jpg
Headstone.jpg

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Personal Details

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Person:
Francis Stanley Gabreski 2
Francis Gabreski 1
Also known as: Franciszek Gabryszewski 3
Also known as: Gabby Gabreski 3
Gender: Male 1
Social Security Number: ***-**-0990 1
Birth:
28 Jan 1919 1
Oil City, Pennsylvania 3
Death:
31 Jan 2002 1
Huntington, New York 3
Cause: Heart attack 4
Cause: Unknown 1
Burial:
Calverton National Cemetery, New York 3
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Birth:
Father: Stanley Gabryszewski 3
Marriage:
Catherine "Kay" Cochran 3
11 Jun 1945 3
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World War II 1

Branch:
Army Air Forces 2
Branch:
Air Force 1
Rank:
Colonel (1950) 3
Rank:
Lieutenant Colonel 2
Enlistment Date:
29 Jul 1940 1
Branch 2:
Air Force 1
Commands held:
61st Fighter Squadron 3
Enlistment Date 2:
04 Apr 1947 1
Organization:
Air Force 1
Organization 2:
Air Force 1
Organization Code:
AF 1
Organization Code 2:
AF 1
Release Date:
01 Sep 1946 1
Release Date 2:
31 Oct 1967 1
Edit
Employment:
Employer: Long Island Rail Road 3
Position: President 3
End Date: 1981 3
Employment:
Employer: Grumman Aerospace 3
End Date: 1978 3
Education:
Institution: University of Notre Dame 3
Place: Indiana 3
From: 1938 3

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Distinguished Service Cross citation

Major Francis S. Gabreski
U.S. Army Air Forces
Date of Award: November 26, 1943
Headquarters: U.S. Strategic Forces in Europe, General Orders No. 25 (1944)

Citation:

The President of the United States of America, under the provisions of the Act of Congress approved July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross to Francis S. Gabreski (0-406131), Major (Air Corps), U.S. Army Air Forces, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy while serving as pilot of a P-47 fighter airplane in the 61st Fighter Squadron, 56th Fighter Group, Eighth Air Force, in aerial combat against enemy forces on November 26, 1943, in the European Theater of Operations. On this date Major Gabreski shot down two enemy aircraft, bringing his total to this point in the war to more than 30 victories. Major Gabreski's unquestionable valor in aerial combat is in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflects great credit upon himself, the Eighth Air Force, and the United States Army Air Forces.

Military Bio

Gabreski flew missions in Europe during WWII, scoring 28 kills and becoming the top U.S. fighter ace in Europe.  In 1944, he was taken prisoner of war by the Germans after crash landing. During the Korean War, Gabreski again became an ace, this time with 6.5 kills, making his aerial victory total 34.5 and his combined score 37.5. He was one of only a few pilots to become an ace in both WWII and the Korean War. Over the course of his military career (1940-67), he rose to the rank of colonel, held multiple commands, and received numerous decorations, including the Distinguished Service Cross and two Silver Stars. 

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