Edward Gignac was born on September 7, 1918, in Lebanon, New Hampshire. He was a record ski jumper before the war and enlisted in the Aviation Cadet Program of the U.S. Army Air Corps on April 28, 1941. Gignac was commissioned a 2d Lt and awarded his pilot wings on December 12, 1941, and then flew P-39 Airacobra fighters with the 7th Pursuit Squadron and then the 40th Fighter Squadron of the 35th Fighter Group in Australia and New Guinea from May to November 1942, after being injured in a crash landing. He then joined the 320th Fighter Squadron of the 326th Fighter Group, where he trained in the P-47 Thunderbolt. Capt Gignac then joined the 21st Fighter Squadron (later renamed the 486th Fighter Squadron) of the 352nd Fighter Group and deployed with the squadron to England in July 1943. The group soon switched to the P-51 Mustang and Maj Gignac was credited with destroying 1.5 enemy aircraft in aerial combat before he was killed in action on June 7, 1944. He was buried at the Epinal American Cemetery in Epinal, France.
His Silver Star Citation reads:
For gallantry in action over New Guinea, on 18 June 1942. This officer was flying a P-39 type aircraft as part of a flight of three, which intercepted nine enemy bombers and eight enemy fighter planes. The enemy fighters were at a considerable height above the bombers, and when our planes attacked the bombers, they were met by a diving head-on attack by the Zeros. Lt. Gignac selected one of the bombers and continued to press the attack in spite of the fact that a number of Zeros were firing bursts into his plane. After the first pass, he chandelled in front of the bombers and, though slightly wounded, he managed to damage another bomber. After the encounter, Lt. Gignac succeeded in flying his crippled plane back to the home base and landing it. His persistence and fearlessness are highly commendable and are in keeping with the best fighting traditions of the U.S. Army Air Corps.