HERBERT L. BASLEE, JR., LCDR, USN
Herbert Baslee, Jr. '43
Date of birth: April 30, 1920
Date of death: March 17, 1952
From the 1943 Lucky Bag:
Herb was commanding officer of Fighter Squadron (VF) 52 when he was lost on March 17, 1952. His F9F-2 Panther was shot down by anti-aircraft artillery while conducting a strafing run in North Korea.
From the Class of 1943 anniversary book "25 years later…":
Herb was born in Albany, Oregon on 30 April 1920. He was appointed from California and entered the Academy on 9 June 1939. His first duty station was the destroyer USS GANSEVOORT which participated in the Aleutian and Gilbert Islands campaign. Then Herb re ported to the destroyer USS WEDDERBURN in February 1944, He was detached in October 1944 to undergo flight training at Ottumeva, Iowa, Pensacola, Miami and Jacksonville, Florida. His first flight billet was in Fighter Squadron ONE L in the Atlantic in October 1946. Then followed various billets ashore and afloat involving flying. He served at the Naval Air Station, San Diego then went to Korea in Fighter Squadron FIFTY-TWO. On 17 March 1952 while on an attack mission 16 miles northwest of Wonson, North Korea, Herb's aircraft was lost to enemy anti-aircraft fire. His medals include: The Purple Heart, American Defense Service, American Campaign, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign, WW II Victory, Korean Service, United Nations Service, and Philippine Liberation. He was survived by his wife Sonia Diswick and their daughter Kathryn who at Herb’s death resided at 610 Torento Drive, San Diego, California.
From researcher Kathy Franz:
His father was Herbert who died in an explosion while testing dyes. His mother was Eda, sister Betty. Herbert Jr was married to Sonya, and they had a daughter Kathryn Lester Baslee. He was also survived by an uncle, his niece and nephew.
From Hall of Valor:
The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Silver Star (Posthumously) to Lieutenant Commander Herbert Lester Baslee, Jr. (NSN: 0-165577), United States Navy, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action against the enemy while acting as a strike leader of a flight of Panther Jets of Fighter Squadron FIFTY-TWO (VF-52), embarked in U.S.S. VALLEY FORGE (CV-45), on an interdiction strike mission against enemy rail lines in the vicinity of Munchon, North Korea, on 17 March 1952. Leading his flight against enemy gun positions, Lieutenant Commander Baslee pressed home his aggressive and determined attack through a veritable hail of intense and accurate anti-aircraft fire, with utter disregard for his own personal safety, in order to silence the weapons and permit the flight to accomplish their assigned mission. Although his aircraft received several lethal hits, Lieutenant Commander Baslee continued to fire his guns against the enemy's positions until his plane crashed into the ground resulting in his death. His exceptional courage in the face of the gravest hazards, and his unswerving determination in pressing home his attack to insure the success of the mission exemplifies his extraordinary bravery and devotion to duty. His gallant fighting spirit reflect the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
General Orders: Commander, ATG-1: Serial 132 (March 28, 1952)
Action Date: March 17, 1952
Rank: Lieutenant Commander
Company: Fighter Squadron 52 (VF-52)
Division: U.S.S. Valley Forge (CV-45)
He was unhurt when his F9F-2 Panther hit the ramp, crashed, and burned while recovering aboard USS Valley Forge (CV 45) on December 24, 1951.
Benjamin Pugh '43 was also a pilot flying from USS Valley Forge (CV 45) during this period of the war.