|Lt. William Gambill was a P-51 pilot in the 363rd Fighter Squadron.|
William W. Gambill never had a chance to reach 100 years old today. Instead, he sacrificed his life for our freedom.
He was born on January 24, 1918 in Oregon. His mother May was born in Nebraska and his father Rex was born in Virginia. His father worked as a garage mechanic. William had two older sisters, an older brother, two younger sisters, and a younger brother. Both of William's brothers served in the army during the war. By 1940 William had completed four years of high school. He had moved to Los Angeles where he got a job as a truck driver.
He enlisted in the army on September 16, 1940. At some time later he volunteered for the Army Air Forces. Despite his lack of college he became a first lieutenant and pilot in the 363rd Fighter Squadron, 357th Fighter Group. The 357th FG was originally trained to fly P-39 Airacobras, but by the time it got to England in late 1943, it was given the much superior P-51 Mustangs to fly.
Chuck Yeager, who went on to be the first man to fly faster than the speed of sound, was also in the 363rd FS. The 357th FG became the first P-51 group assigned in the 8th Air Force.
On March 8, 1944 Lt. Gambill was shot down in his P-51 named Alice in Wonderland by a Bf-109 over Hanover, Germany. He was captured and became a prisoner of war. Fifteen days later on March 23, 1944 he died of wounds sustained during an Allied bombing raid.
His grave is at Union Cemetery in Union, Oregon.
Last year on this date I profiled Hubert Hoenck who was with the 4th Marine Division in Saipan and also the Academy Award winning actor and WW2 veteran Ernest Borgnine. You can read about Hubert and Ernest here.
On behalf of the fallen, if you would like to see more people become aware of this project to honor the WW2 fallen, be sure to share with others on Twitter, Facebook, etc. Thanks for your interest!
I created this video to explain why I started this project: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXt8QA481lY.
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