Bassett, Charles Arthur, II, Maj

 Service Photo   Service Details
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Last Rank
Last Primary AFSC/MOS
Last AFSC Group
Primary Unit
1963-1966, 1021A, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Service Years
1952 - 1966
Officer Collar Insignia

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by the Site Administrator to remember Bassett, Charles Arthur, II, Maj.
Contact Info
Home Town
Dayton, Ohio
Last Address
Saint Louis, Missouri

Date of Passing
Feb 28, 1966
Location of Interment
Not Specified
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Section 4, Lot 195 Grid AA-11.5

 Official Badges 

 Unofficial Badges 

 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
Gemini IX Astronaut. He was born in Dayton, Ohio, and attended Ohio State University from 1950 to 1952. He then entered the United States Air Force as an Aviation Cadet. He trained at Stallings Air Force Base, North Carolina, Bryan Air Force Base, Texas, and Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, completing advanced work in April 1954. He went to the Pacific with the 8th Fighter Bomber Group and was promoted to First Lieutenant in May 1955. He returned for pilot duties at Suffolk County Air Force Base, New York, serving until April 1958 when he took the electrical engineering course at the U.S. Air Force Institute of Technology at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. From 1958 to 1960 he studied at Texas Tech where he finished his studies started at Ohio State. He received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering with honors. His graduate work was done at the University of Southern California. He was promoted to Captain in January 1960 while on duty at Edwards Air Force Base, California. In November 1960 he went to Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, to attend Squadron Officer School and returned to Edwards as an experimental test pilot in the Fighter Projects Office. He was a member of the third group of fourteen astronauts named by NASA in October 1963. He was later chosen along with Elliot See for the prime crew slot of Gemini IX, with Thomas P. Stafford and Eugene A. Cernan serving as the backup crew. With the flight of Gemini IX coming up, both crews took off the morning of February 28, 1966, in their T-38 jet training planes headed for the McDonnell plant in St Louis. Here they would spend two weeks training in the simulator. The weather in St. Louis was rainy and foggy, and there was no visibility, as the jets of the two crews approached the St. Louis Municipal Airport. The jet that he and See were in was cleared to land first, using an instrument landing. See misjudged his landing approach, and in pulling up from the runway turned toward the McDonnell complex, 1000 feet from the landing strip. The T-38 hit the roof of the building where their spacecraft was being assembled, bounced into an adjacent courtyard, and exploded. Both astronauts were killed, and 14 persons on the ground were injured. Minutes later the Gemini IX backup crew, Stafford and Cernan, landed safely. As a result, the Gemini IX backup crew became the prime crew, (a NASA first), and all subsequent crew assignments were reshuffled. This ended up determining who would be the first man on the moon.
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Astronaut (Basic)
Aviator (Basic)

 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
US Air ForceAir Base UnitsNational Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
  1954-1955, 1021A, 8th Fighter-Bomber Group
  1955-1958, 1021A, 437th Army Air Force Base Unit
  1963-1966, 1021A, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1952-1953 Korean War
 Colleges Attended 
Ohio State UniversityTexas Tech UniversityUniversity of Southern California
  1950-1952, Ohio State University
  1958-1960, Texas Tech University
  1960-1963, University of Southern California
 My Aircraft/Missiles
F-86 Sabre  T-38 Talon  
  1952-1954, F-86 Sabre
  1966-1966, T-38 Talon
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