William T. Gilbert, Jr. was born on January 27, 1924, in New Haven, Connecticut, son of William Thurston and Dorothy Blakeslee Gilbert. He served in the 362nd Fighter Squadron, 357th Fighter Group as a First Lieutenant during World War II. During a battle between JG 300, flying Focke-Wulf 190s, and the 362nd US fighter Squadron, flying P 51s, near Gießen, Germany, William found himself in a dogfight with Unteroffizier Hans Hufnagel. Although his P51 was already on fire, he continued to shoot at the FW 190, causing it to burst into flames. Hufnagel bailed out too low, at about 150 meters, and was killed as his parachute failed to open. Gilbert bailed out over the "Räuberwald" in the state forest of Oberaula. His plane crashed near Machtlos, and his body was discovered hanging from his parachute in a tree two weeks later by local foresters. Both were buried in the Friedhof von Görzhain nearby, but Lt. Gilbert's body was moved after the war to its current resting place in the Netherlands American Cemetery, Margraten, Netherlands.
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