Second Lieutenant Ray Gilbreath was born on September 1, 1921. He married Mary Florence Sharp on April 23, 1943 and the couple had one daughter, Pamela. Second Lieutenant Gilbreath served in the 733rd Bomber Squadron, 453rd Bomber Group, Heavy. He was killed by foreign object destruction when his bomber was hit by enemy aircraft fire on Monday, March 6, 1944. He was memorialized at the Netherlands American Cemetery in Margraten. He was awarded an Air Medal.
Aircraft B-24H with serial number 42-64460 was on an operational mission to Genshagen, Germany.
Pilot, 1st Lt Patrick D. Tobin
Co-Pilot, 2nd Lt Ray Gilbreath
Navigator, 2nd Lt David H. Miller
Bombardier, 2nd Lt Thomas L. Underwood
R.G.M. S/Sgt Peter Santora
Tail gunner, S/Sgt Joseph V. Williams
Ball Turret Gunner, S/Sgt James F. Witmer
Top Turret Gunner, T/Sgt Peter M. Cunniff
Right Waist Gunner, S/Sgt Clair Kreidler
Left Waist Gunner, S/Sgt James J. Meyers
2nd Lieutenant Ray “Buck” Gilbreath’s daughter Pamela Gilbreath Kelly was interviewed for the Clinton Courier News 18 July 2007, in an article titled “Circus Girl returns home to Clinton”. She grew up to become an actress, teacher, and author. Of her father it was stated “Pamela is a war orphan. When Her Father perished in Europe on March 6, 1944, life changed dramatically for Pamela and her Mother. Mary Florence married her Dad’s best friend (Roger Sharp) who also fought on the front lines in France and came home wounded with shrapnel and shell shock. Pamela in her book’s brief bio said her family was caught up in a tidal wave of emotions and our interaction reflected this.” Her book was titled “Speak with Passion, Speak with Power”.
1st Lt. Ray Buck Gilbreath was the son of Frank and Willie Roosier Gilbreath. Sister Mildred; Brothers Boyd and W.O.