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Shane Laemmel, MR3
Bassett, Leonard Flournoy, CAPT.
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Home Town Pine Bluff, AR
Last Address Coronado, CA
Date of Passing Feb 06, 2006
Location of Interment Not Specified
Wall/Plot Coordinates Not Specified
Last Known Activity
Capt. Bassett passed away Feb. 8 after a long illness, only a few weeks after his 89th birthday.
Leonard Bassett was born in Pine Bluff, Ark. He attended Arkansas State College before receiving a presidential appointment to the United StatesNavalAcademy in Annapolis, Md., where he graduated in 1940. In 1943, he married Catherine Garthwaite of Oakland, a marriage that lasted 62 years.
In his 30-year naval career, Capt. Bassett served on a number of ships in the Pacific Fleet. He saw action during World War II aboard the USS Concord and the USS St. Louis, where he was awarded the Bronze Star for his service as an assistant gunnery officer. He eventually served on the staff of legendary Admiral Arleigh "Knots” Burke. During the Korean conflict, Capt. Bassett served as a gunnery officer aboard the USS Rochester and the USS Iowa, for which he was awarded two additional Bronze Stars, the Korean Presidential Unit Citation and the Korean Service Medal with three combat stars.
Following World War II, Capt. Bassett attended both the NavalPostgraduateSchool and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he earned an master's of science degree in electrical engineering in 1949.
During the 1950s Capt. Bassett developed a reputation as one of the Navy's top weapons experts. He served with the Navy's Bureau of Weapons and Inspector of Ordnance service, assisting in the development of guidance technology for the TALOS missile system. He attained the rank of captain in 1959, and served as commanding officer of both the USS Rowan and USS Union. In 1965, Capt. Bassett was appointed commander of the Naval Ammunition Depot at Oahu, Hawaii. His last tour of duty was assistant chief of staff for administration COM 11.
After his retirement from the Navy in 1970, Capt. Bassett worked for the United Way, where he headed up the Combined Federal Campaign. He left that job in 1977, and devoted his time to playing golf, building a computer, and spending time with his wife, Cathie in Coronado, their home for 45 years. He was a member of the Coronado Men's Golf Club for more than 35 years, and served on its board of governors in 1971. He played to a 12 handicap, and scored two holes-in-one at the Coronado Golf Course, in 1972 and 1974.
Throughout his life, Capt. Bassett was known and loved for his wonderful and mischievous sense of humor. While serving as commander of the Ammunitions Depot in Hawaii, he once, according to legend, showed up dressed as a ballerina, complete with leotard and tutu, at a base Halloween party. At sea, at home, or on the golf course, Capt. Bassett was always making the people around him laugh. The men who served under his command remembered his sense of humor, and also knew him as an inspirational by-the-book leader with an unshakable sense of fair play.
Capt. Bassett was preceded in death by his wife, Cathie, and by his brother, Dr. John W. Bassett of Portland, Ore. He is survived by his two daughters and sons-in-law, Ann and Bob Hite of Basalt, Colo.; and Cee Cee and Emile Barrios of San Diego.