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. In addition to commanding two fighter squadrons, Gabreski had six command tours at group or wing level, including one in combat in Korea, totalling over 11 years of command and 15 overall in operational fighter assignments.
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)
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.