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Tigers: Tracking a Legend
Capt. Robert D. Gibb
1922-1951Capt. Robert D. Gibb was born in Detroit on February 16, 1922. He graduated from Lansing Eastern High School and attended Michigan State University and the University of Michigan.
Gibb joined the Aviation Cadet Program of the U.S. Army Air Forces on January 21, 1942. He was commissioned second lieutenant and awarded his wings on October 9, 1942 upon his completion of P-47 Thunderbolt transition training. Gibb was an original member of the 342nd Fighter Squadron, 348th Fighter Group-the only P-47 squadron in the 5th Air Force, Southwest Pacific Theater. The 348th was based at Westover Field, Massachusetts from November 1942 to March 1943, and then deployed with the group to New Guinea from March 1943 to August 1944. During this time, Gibb flew 135 combat missions and was credited with the destruction of five enemy aircraft in aerial combat, plus one damaged and two "probable" enemy aircraft shot down.
Gibb next completed instructor pilot training, and served as an instructor pilot with the 122nd Army Air Force Base Group at Camp Springs, Washington, D.C. from November 1944 to April 1945. He then served as an operations officer with the 301st Fighter Squadron at Shaw Field, South Carolina from April to September 1945. Gibb was discharged on October 24, 1945 having been awarded three Distinguished Flying Crosses and three Air Medals for his service.
Gibb returned to active duty with the U. S. Air Force in October 1947, serving as an F-80 Shooting Star pilot with the 56th Fighter Group at Selfridge Air Force Base in Michigan from December 1947 to November 1948. He was promoted to captain and served with the 81st Fighter Wing at Wheeler Air Force Base in Hawaii from January to April 1949, followed by service as an Air Force officer with the Hawaii Air National Guard from April 1949 to September 1951.
Gibb was deployed to Korea that same September, serving as an F-84 Thunderjet pilot with the 8th Fighter-Bomber Squadron of the 49th Fighter-Bomber Group until his failure to return from a mission over Chonulli, North Korea on December 16, 1951.
Gibb was officially listed as missing in action until he was declared dead on December 31, 1953.