Bassett, Norman B., 2nd Lt

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Last Rank
Second Lieutenant
Last Primary AFSC/MOS
AAF MOS 1034-Navigator
Last AFSC Group
Air Crew (Officer)
Primary Unit
1944-1945, 881st Bombardment Group, Very Heavy
Service Years
1942 - 1945
USAAFOfficer Collar Insignia
Second Lieutenant

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

Home State
New York
New York
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by CMSgt Don Skinner-Deceased to remember Bassett, Norman B., 2nd Lt.

If you knew or served with this Airman and have additional information or photos to support this Page, please leave a message for the Page Administrator(s) HERE.
Casualty Info
Home Town
Last Address
Saipan Island, The Mariannas

Casualty Date
May 24, 1945
Hostile, Died while Missing
Air Loss, Crash - Land
World War II
Location of Interment
Zachary Taylor National Cemetery - Louisville, Kentucky
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Plot E, 179

 Official Badges 

 Unofficial Badges 

 Military Association Memberships
World War II Fallen
  2014, World War II Fallen

 Photo Album   (More...

 Ribbon Bar

Navigator Badge

 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
Aviation Cadet Flight SchoolSchool Assignments881st Bombardment Group, Very Heavy
  1943-1943, Aviation Cadet Flight School
  1943-1944, AAF MOS 1034, 2700 Student Navigator Course, Primary-Basic Navigation School
  1944-1945, 881st Bombardment Group, Very Heavy
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1944-1944 World War II/Asian-Pacific Theater/Air Offensive Campaign Japan (1942-45)
  1945-1945 World War II/Asian-Pacific Theater/Western Pacific Campaign (1944-45)
 Colleges Attended 
Cornell University
  1941-1943, Cornell University
 My Aircraft/Missiles
B-29 Superfortress  
  1944-1945, B-29 Superfortress
 Additional Information

Last Known Activity
Norman Banks Bassett was born on May 6, 1922 in Buffalo, New York. His father owned the Buffalo Meter Company, and the family was relatively well-off. Bassett spent his summers on Lake Erie, Canada, where he became an avid boatman. In 1942, the family moved to a larger home in Buffalo, and Norman began practicing playing drums. He formed a band, and was lead singer. He was reported to be an excellent tennis player.

He attended Pottstown High School in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, graduating in 1941. He had an outstanding record in both academics and athletics. He attended Cornell University, but quit after his second year in February, 1943. He joined the Army Reserve in Geneva, New York. Accepted for flight training, he trained in Biloxi, Mississippi; Tampa and Boca Raton, Florida; and Houston and Peyote, Texas. However, because of bad eyesight, he was terminated and sent to Navigator School for the 18 week course. He graduated and was commissioned on May 20, 1944, and soon found himself assigned to the 881st Bomb Squadron of the 500th Bomb Group on Saipan Island.

He began flying missions against Japanese targets, and had completed 12 missions. On May 24, 1945, his aircraft was part of a multi-plane raid on the Japanese home islands. After bombing the Tokyo dock area, his aircraft was shot down over Tokyo Bay, with only one survivor.

After the war, remains taken from a military cemetery and marked as "Unknown" were identified as this crew. All remains were buried in a common grave at Zachary Taylor National Cemetery, and a plaque erected over the grave site although it is not certain who is buried there.

A War Memorial window was donated by his father to the Westminster Presbyterian Church in Buffalo. Twelve other men are memorialized in addition to Bassett. A carillon bell was donated to Cornell University in his name, and his name is on the World War II memorial in Anabel Taylor Hall at Cornell.

It was reported that his father offered to finance an expedition to find and recover his remains immediately after the war, but no documentary proof of this has been located.


Lt. Norman B. Bassett was the navigator on B-29 #42-63486, unnamed, but known as "Z Square 7" for its organizational code. This aircraft was lost on a mission over Japan on May 24, 1945. Missing Air Crew Report 14488 applies.

A full listing of the events of the loss of this aircraft, plus a full listing of the crew is posted on the profile of Captain Eugene M. Thomas, Jr. and will not be repeated here.

Service photo source:

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