Gabreski was born in 1919. A medical student when he entered the U.S Army Air Corps in 1940. He graduated from flight training on the 14th March 1941. Gabreski was actually at Pearl Harbour when the Japanese struck but couldn't get of the ground in time. Gabreski transferred to England in 1942, originally to became a liaison officer to a Polish air squadron, when the 56th Fighter Group arrived in England he was transferred to the 61st Fighter Squadron of that group. Gabreski remained with that Fighter Group and would go on to score 28 victories becoming the top P-47  Ace within the Eighth Air Force. When flying a mission Seeking targets of opportunity, he spotted enemy fighters parked on an airdrome. During his second strafing pass, his plane suddenly began to vibrate violently and Gabreski  crash landed. Uninjured, he jumped to the ground and ran  towards a deep wood with German soldiers in pursuit. Eluding them for five days, he began to make his way toward Allied lines. He encountered a Polish-speaking forced laborer whom he persuaded to bring him food and water. But eventually he was captured and held as a POW in Stalag Luft I until the end of the War.


Gabreski returned to active service in 1947. During the Korean War he was in command of the 51st Fighter Wing  during his combat tour from June 1951 until 1952. Gabreski would go on to became an Ace in this conflict flying an F-86 Sabre jet he  accounted for 6 MiG 15s. Francis S.Gabreski retired as Colonel and Commander of the 52nd Fighter Wing in 1967, he finished World War II with 28 Victories.