Francis Stanley Gabreski

Military
Lieutenant colonel Francis S. Gabreski of the 56th Fighter Group in the cockpit of his P-47 Thunderbolt Handwritten on slide:"Gabreski K2170 Reversed Boxted 1944"

Object Number - FRE 5587 - Lieutenant colonel Francis S. Gabreski of the 56th Fighter Group in the cockpit of his P-47 Thunderbolt Handwritten on slide:"Gabreski K2170 Reversed...

Francis S Gabreski (born Franciszek Gabryszewski) was the son of Polish immigrants to the US. He enlisted with the United States Army Air Corps in July 1940, was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the Air Reserve in March 1941 and was posted to Wheeler Field, Hawaii.

He was with the 45th Fighter Squadron when he flew sorties during the attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941.

Gabreski returned to the US in October 1942 and was assigned to the 56th Fighter Group as flight leader. He was assigned to the UK with the 56th Fighter Group in January 1943 and was immediately detached to No. 315 Squadron, RAF (Polish) at RAF Norholt where he flew 13 operational sorties in Spitfire Vs. He formed close friendships with the pilots of No. 315 Squadron.

Gabreski returned to the 56th Fighter Group in late February 1943 and led B Flight of the 61st Fighter Squadron. He took command of the 61st FS on June 9, 1943.

Gabreski became 56th FG Deputy Flying Executive and Operations Officer on January 20, 1944. He was promoted to Lt. Col. and assumed command of the 61st FS on April 13, 1944.

On 20 July 1944 he crash landed near Bassinheim Airfield, Germany and went into hiding. He was captured after five days and imprisoned in Stalag Luft I near Barth, Germany.

Gabreski flew 153 combat missions and claimed 28 victories. He served in USAF until 1967 when he retired with the rank of Colonel. He remains the top US fighter ace with 34.5 victories in WWII and the Korean War.

DSC/ Polish Cross of Valor/ SS/ DFC w/ 7 Oak Leaf Cluster/ AM w/ 5 Oak Leaf Cluster

Connections

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Units served with

People

Lieutenant-Colonel Francis S. Gabreski, ace pilot of the 61st Fighter Squadron, 56th Fighter Group, stands with the ground crew who keep his P-47 Thunderbolt in fit shape for combat. They are, from left to right, Crew Chief Staff Sergeant Ralph H. Safford, Assistant Crew Chief Corporal Felix Schacki and armorer Sergeant Joe Di Franza. Printed caption on reverse of print: '53456 AC - Col. Gabreski poses with his ground crew for a picture just after returning from a mission over France. The Col. is commandi
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 56th Fighter Group 61st Fighter Squadron
  • Service Numbers: 31030091
  • Highest Rank: Corporal (Technician Fifth Grade)
  • Role/Job: Works on P-47 thunderbolts (Engineer)
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 507th Fighter Group 56th Fighter Group 463rd Fighter Squadron 63rd Fighter Squadron
  • Service Numbers: O-2045114, T-223051
  • Highest Rank: First Lieutenant
  • Role/Job: Fighter Pilot
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 56th Fighter Group 62nd Fighter Squadron
  • Service Numbers: O-432203
  • Highest Rank: Colonel
  • Role/Job: Fighter Pilot
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 320th Bomb Group 444th Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: AO 791739
  • Highest Rank: Major
  • Role/Job: Pilot

Aircraft

  • Aircraft Type: P-47 Thunderbolt
  • Unit: 56th Fighter Group 61st Fighter Squadron
  • Aircraft Type: P-47 Thunderbolt
  • Unit: 56th Fighter Group 61st Fighter Squadron
  • Aircraft Type: P-47 Thunderbolt
  • Unit: 56th Fighter Group 78th Fighter Group 61st Fighter Squadron 82nd Fighter Squadron
  • Aircraft Type: P-47 Thunderbolt
  • Unit: 373rd Fighter Group 56th Fighter Group 61st Fighter Squadron
  • Aircraft Type: P-47 Thunderbolt
  • Unit: 56th Fighter Group 61st Fighter Squadron

Places

Prisoners of war, including Colonel Hubert Zemke of the 479th Fighter Group at Stalag Luft I.
  • Site type: Prisoner of war camp
  • Known as: Stalag Luft I, Barth, Germany

Events

Event Location Date Description

Born

Reassigned

Oil City, PA, USA 28 January 1919 Gabreski was the son of Polish immigrants.

Other

Transferred

Wheeler Army Airfield, HI, USA 7 December 1941 Gabreski was based at Wheeler Field, Hawaii with the 45th Fighter Squadron when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbour. He flew intercept during the attack.

Other

Crashed

near Bassenheim, Germany 20 July 1944 Crash-landed, escaped capture before becoming a Prisoner of War

Other

Prisoner of War (POW)

Stalag Luft I, near Barth, Germany 25 July 1944

Died

Huntington, NY, USA 31 January 2002

Other

Retired

Retired with rank of Colonel

Enlisted

US Army Air Corps as Second Lieutenant

Buried

Calverton, Suffolk County, New York, USA Calverton National Cemetery Section 14; Plot 724

Revisions

Date20 Nov 2020 18:23:46
Contributorjmoore43
Sources

Moved info from Nickname field to the "Summary biography".

Date20 Nov 2020 18:21:19
Contributorjmoore43
Sources

Updated Highest Rank per info in the "Summary biography".

Date2 Sep 2020 22:31:32
Contributorjmoore43
Sources

Added a Buried event per Find-a-grave Memorial ID 6521925.

Date2 Sep 2020 22:07:27
Contributorjmoore43
Sources

Added a connection to Stalag Luft 1 per WW2 POW records at the National Archives (NARA).

Date4 Feb 2015 15:59:07
ContributorLucy May
Sources

Combined several entries for Francis Gabreski into a single entry. Now includes information from the following sources:
Biography/ MACR 6843 / Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / MACR 6843 / Paul Andrews, Project Bits and Pieces, 8th Air Force Roll of Honor database

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / www.56thfightergroup.co.uk/personnel.htm

Date2 Oct 2014 15:15:08
ContributorEmily
Sources

Changed pin category

Date2 Oct 2014 10:49:29
ContributorEmily
Date1 Oct 2014 14:47:09
ContributorEmily
Sources

Changed multiple Born events to Other

Date1 Oct 2014 14:43:06
ContributorEmily
Sources

Changed Wheeler Field event from Born to Other

Date1 Oct 2014 14:42:09
ContributorEmily
Sources

Updated location pin for crash landing

Date1 Oct 2014 14:40:56
ContributorEmily
Sources

Added map location for Wheeler Field to Biography

Date1 Oct 2014 14:38:35
ContributorEmily
Sources

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / www.56thfightergroup.co.uk/personnel.htm

Freeman, The Mighty Eighth, p. 272.

Date27 Sep 2014 18:09:51
ContributorAAM
Sources

Ted Damick, VIII Fighter Command pilots list

Francis Stanley Gabreski: Gallery (43 items)