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Birthdate & Date of Loss

Date of birth: April 30, 1920
Date of death: March 17, 1952
Age: 31

Lucky Bag

1943 Baslee LB.jpg

From the 1943 Lucky Bag:


Mill Valley, California

Somebody was always running Herb about something, but this big eared, big voiced Californian from Mill Valley either drowned them out or laughed them off. Herb did a lot of everything. He made numerals in plebe swimming and battalion boxing. For three years, his big bass was added enthusiastically to football games, the choir, the Masqueraders, and the Glee Club. First class year he was leader of the Glee Club and what he lacked in experience he made up for in hard work and enthusiasm. His many interests blossomed out in his favorite pastimes—tennis, swimming, singing, California, San Francisco, and the far west.

He was leader of the Glee Club.

The Class of 1943 was graduated in June 1942 due to World War II. The entirety of 2nd class (junior) year was removed from the curriculum.


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.

His remains were recovered during Operation Glory, and he is buried in California.

Silver Star

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
Service: Navy
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.

Related Articles

Benjamin Pugh '43 was also a pilot flying from USS Valley Forge (CV 45) during this period of the war.

Class Navigation

Class of 1943
Herbert is one of 77 members of the Class of 1943 in Memorial Hall.
<< Benjamin Pugh '43 Joseph Campbell '43 >>