Major William David Gatling, Sr. was born in 1922 in Murfreesboro, NC to parents Julian Irving and Rosa Virginia Byrd-Gatling. After enlisting in October 27, 1940, Gatling attended many flight schools in his early career. On October 9, 1941, he graduated as a Staff Sergeant with Class 42-I. served in the 315th Squadron of the 324th Fighter Group in the U.S. Army Air Corps, flying 200 combat missions in fighter bombers over northern Africa and Europe during World War II. He documented his war experiences in a memoir entitled "Critical Points" and in a 2015 documentary produced by the Institute of Military Technology in Titusville, FL. In 2016 in Dayton, OH, Gatling attended an honoring of the 324th Fighter Group. On June 10, 2017, Gatling passed away in Florida, and was laid to rest in the Arlington National Cemetery.
The collection consists of the 89-page book "Critical Points" written by William D. Gatling, and published by Pierce Printing Company of Ahoskie, NC in 1997. The book documents Gatling's World War II experiences in Europe, Africa, and Asia, and lists the names of the 324th Fighter Group men who lost their lives during World War II. More specifically, Gatling provides first-hand accounts of dive-bombing and strafing missions over Africa and Europe in sections of the book. The book contains a press release, orders, newspaper clippings, articles, and correspondences related to Gatling and the 324th Fighter Group. In addition, Gatling provides aircraft specifications, and his flight training and combat flight log.
The book is an autographed copy of "Critical Points" written out to Yvonne Martin, whose aunt and uncle were living in France during World War II.
Gift of Yvonne Martin
Encoded by Mark Custer, March 18, 2008
Processed by Aleck Tan, February 2020
Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.