Fassett, Robert B., 1st Lt

 Service Photo   Service Details
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Last Rank
First Lieutenant
Last Primary AFSC/MOS
AAF MOS 1035-Bombardier
Last AFSC Group
Air Crew (Officer)
Primary Unit
1943-1944, AAF MOS 1035, 353rd Bombardment Squadron, Heavy
Service Years
1941 - 1944
First Lieutenant

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by CMSgt Don Skinner-Deceased to remember Fassett, Robert B., 1st Lt.

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Casualty Info
Home Town
Last Address
353rd Bomb Squadron
Cerignola, Italy

Casualty Date
Jan 11, 1944
Hostile, Died while Missing
Air Loss, Crash - Land
World War II
Location of Interment
American Cemetery - Sicily-Rome, Italy
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Plot I, Row 14, Grave 35

 Official Badges 

 Unofficial Badges 

 Military Association Memberships
World War II Fallen
  1944, World War II Fallen

 Ribbon Bar

Bombardier Badge

 Unit Assignments
United States Army Air Forces (USAAF)301st Bombardment Group, Heavy  353rd Bombardment Squadron, Heavy
  1941-1943, United States Army Air Forces (USAAF)
  1943-1943, AAF MOS 1035, 301st Bombardment Group, Heavy
  1943-1944, AAF MOS 1035, 353rd Bombardment Squadron, Heavy
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1942-1945 World War II/European-African-Middle Eastern Theater
  1943-1943 Air Offensive, Europe Campaign (1942-44)/Operation Strangle
  1944-1944 World War II/European-African-Middle Eastern Theater/Anzio Campaign (1944)
 My Aircraft/Missiles
B-17 Flying Fortress  
  1943-1944, B-17 Flying Fortress
 Additional Information

Last Known Activity
Robert Barrett Fassett was born in Chicago, Illinois on January 29, 1919 to Elisha W. and Nell Barrett Fassett. The US Census 1930 places the family in Chicago.

Fassett enlisted in the Army Air Forces on March 25, 1941 in Chicago. His enlistment papers show he enlisted for a thee year term, had completed 2 years of college (unnamed), and was employed as a sales clerk.

He received bombardier training, and was commissioned and awarded wings. He was assigned to the North African Theater of Operations in mid-1943, and was sent to a B-17 combat unit. He flew at least 20 missions with this unit.

On January 11, 1944, he was chosen as part of a crew assigned to bomb the Piraeus Harbor installations in Greece. As the formation neared the target, a large overcast was encountered, and the formation attempted to fly though it.

Winds were excessive, then icing conditions developed. Two of the lead aircraft decided to abort, but in turning back, they turned across the track of the second element. Two of the aircraft collided, shearing the tail section off the aircraft with Fassett aboard.

Somehow, the tail section "fluttered" to the ground 19,000 feet below, and landed in a small grove of trees. This allowed the tail gunner, trapped in the wreckage, to emerge unscathed. He was immediately captured.

The rest of the wreckage fell to earth, killing the others on board. Evidently, the bodies were recovered and buried locally. After the war, they were retrieved and sent to various cemeteries for burial. Lt Fasset now lies in the Sicily-Rome American Cemetery in Nettuno, Italy in Plot I, Row 14, Grave 35.

US census 1930
NARA Enlistment Records


Lt Robert B. Fassett was the assigned bombardier on B-17F # 42-3098, named "Skippy," assigned to the 353rd Bomb Squadron.

Missing Air Crew Report 1832 was issued for this loss. There is no loading list, but a crew roster from the MACR shows the crew as:

Cpt Robert W. Goen, Jr.  p
1 Lt Henry J. Sudol  c-p
1 Lt Bruce E. Hicks  nav
1 Lt Robert B. Fassett  bomb
SSgt John A. Klemmer  eng/tt gun
TSgt Lucio A. Pittoni  r/o
SSgt Leonard E. Matkey  btg
SSgt Eldon C. Steerman  wg
SSgt James A. Raley

Ranks and grades as of mission date.

SSgt Raley was the only survivor.

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