Gabby Gabreski

Gabby Gabreski

Pilot + Aviator + Military Person
Born Jan 28, 1919
Hometown Oil City, Pennsyl...
Died Jan 31, 2002
Death Place Huntington (CDP),...
Other Names Gabby

Francis Stanley "Gabby" Gabreski was the top American fighter ace in Europe during World War II, a jet fighter ace in Korea, and a career officer in the United States Air Force with more than 26 years service. Although best known for his credited destruction of 34½ aircraft in aerial combat and being one of only seven U.S. pilots to become an ace in two wars, Gabreski was also one of the Air Force's most accomplished leaders.… Read More

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Learn about the memorable moments in the evolution of Gabby Gabreski.


1919 Birth Born on January 28, 1919.


1938 19 Years Old 1 More Event
He did so in 1938, but, unprepared for real academic work, almost failed during his freshman year. … Read More


1941 22 Years Old Gabreski earned his wings and his commission as a second lieutenant in the Air Corps in March 1941, then sailed for Hawaii aboard the to his first assignment. … Read More
1942 23 Years Old 1 More Event
During the spring and summer of 1942, Gabreski remained with the 45th FS, training in newer model P-40s and in Bell P-39 Airacobras that the unit began to receive. … Read More
Instead he was posted to No. 315 (Deblin) Squadron at RAF Northolt in January 1943. … Read More
1944 25 Years Old 1 More Event
He tied Johnson as the leading ace in the European Theater of Operations on June 27 (passing Eddie Rickenbacker's record from World War I in the process), and on July 5, 1944, became America's leading ace in the ETO, with Gabby's score of 28 destroyed matching the total at the time of confirmed victories of the Pacific Theatre's top American ace, Richard Bong. … Read More
1945 26 Years Old 1 More Event
He was liberated when Soviet forces seized the camp in April 1945. … Read More
1946 27 Years Old In April 1946, he left the service, worked for Douglas Aircraft for a year, then was recalled to active duty in April 1947 to command the 55th Fighter Squadron, 20th Fighter Group, at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina. … Read More
1947 28 Years Old The Air Force sent him to Columbia University in September 1947 to complete his degree and study Russian.


1949 30 Years Old In June 1949, he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. … Read More
1950 31 Years Old While in command of the 56th, Gabreski oversaw conversion of the unit to North American F-86 Sabres and was promoted to colonel on March 11, 1950.
Gabreski flew combat again during the Korean War. In June 1951, Gabreski and a group of selected pilots of the 56th FIW accompanied the delivery of F-86Es of the 62d FIS to Korea aboard the escort carrier. … Read More
1952 33 Years Old Before the mission of February 20, 1952, Gabreski and Whisner each had four MiGs credited as destroyed. … Read More


1967 48 Years Old Gabreski retired on November 1, 1967. … Read More


1969 50 Years Old Suffolk County Air Force Base in Westhampton Beach, New York, which became Suffolk County Airport in 1969, was renamed Francis S. Gabreski Airport in 1991. … Read More
1978 59 Years Old 1 More Event
In 1978, he was enshrined in the National Aviation Hall of Fame. … Read More


1981 62 Years Old After what he described as an 18-month struggle with the board of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Gabreski resigned on February 26, 1981. … Read More
2002 83 Years Old Gabreski died of an apparent heart attack in Huntington Hospital, Long Island, New York on January 31, 2002, and is also buried in Calverton National Cemetery. … Read More
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