Norton Air Force Base

The San Bernardino Air Material Command was renamed for this San Bernardino boy in 1950, six years after Norton died in action over France.

Image of Leland F. Norton
Leland F. Norton

Leland Francis Norton was born March 12, 1921 in San Bernardino. He attended Elliott, Arrowview, San Bernardino High, and Valley College. In the fall of 1941 he joined the Canadian Air Force, before the United States became actively engaged in the World War.

In March 1942, he transferred to the U. S. Air Force, and was sent first to Maine, and then to Greenland, where he participated in rescue work. He applied for combat, and was trained during the summer of 1943.

On May 27, 1944, he was killed in action over Amiens, France. He and a crew of three were flying an A-20 bomber, dive-bombing to attack a target, when their plane was hit. Both engines were blown off, and two of the crew bailed out. Norton and another crew member bailed out moments later, but drifted to the ground along with the remains of their plane, which was very light in weight due to so much of it being shot away.

As they landed near the remains of the plane, the bombs attached to it exploded, killing Norton and his companion.1

1 Norton, Mrs. Thomas F. in verbal testimony given to the author.

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