Norris, Benjamin White, Maj

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 Service Details
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Last Rank
Last Primary MOS
7332-Pilot VME (Prop)
Last MOSGroup
Air Traffic Control/Enlisted Air Crew
Primary Unit
1942-Present, 7598, Missing In Action
Service Years
1928 - 1942



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Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Sgt Ryan Mahana (Alcatraz) to remember Marine Maj Benjamin White Norris.

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World War II Fallen
  1942, World War II Fallen

 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
Major Norris was born May 15, 1907, in Callao, Peru, where his father was an engineer engaged in the development of the country. He was educated in the United States at St. James School in Maryland, Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire, and was graduated from Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey, with the degree of Bachelor of Arts in June 1928. After graduation from Princeton University, Major Norris joined the aviation branch of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve as a Private, First Class. Appointed Second Lieutenant and designated student naval aviator in 1929, he had his early aviation training at the Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Florida. He was subsequently promoted to First Lieutenant, November 28, 1933, and Captain, February 24, 1937. Transferred from the Reserve to the Marine Corps in that rank in February 1941, he was promoted to Major, May 16, 1942. Major Norris was on duty at the Marine Barracks, Quantico, Virginia, from July 1929 until November 1931, when he was transferred to duty at Brooklyn, New York. During this tour of duty, which extended to May 1938, he was commended for his part in the rescue work when the airship AKRON was lost off Barnegat Light, New Jersey Coast, in April 1933. He later had duty at Floyd Bennett Field, Brooklyn, New York, until December 1940 when he returned to Quantico. In April 1942, Major Norris reported for duty in the field. During the Battle of Midway in June 1942, he commanded one formation of 11 planes of Marine Scout Bombing Squadron 241. Reported missing in this action, June 4, 1942, he was awarded the Navy Cross. Major Norris also was entitled to the Presidential Unit Citation awarded Marine Aircraft Group 22, of which Marine Scout Bombing Squadron 241 was a part. His next of kin, his widow, Mrs. Benjamin White (Ruth R.K.) Norris lives at 60 East End Avenue, New York, New York.

A destroyer, the USS NORRIS, has been named in honor of Major Norris, Mrs. Norris, who has been designated as sponsor for the vessel named in honor of her late husband, is unable to attend the launching, and upon her request the Secretary of the Navy has invited Mrs. Charlie Browning of 1138 Glorietta Boulevard, Coronado, California, to christen the vessel as proxy for Mrs. Norris. The USS NORRIS will be launched at the Bethlehem Steel Company, San Pedro, California.
Other Comments:
Navy Cross
The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Navy Cross (Posthumously) to Major Benjamin White Norris (MCSN: 0-4382), United States Marine Corps, for extraordinary heroism and distinguished service in the line of his profession while serving as Division Commander and a Pilot in Marine Scout-Bombing Squadron TWO HUNDRED FORTY-ONE (VMSB-241), Marine Air Group TWENTY-TWO (MAG-22), Naval Air Station, Midway, during operations of the U.S. Naval and Marine Forces against the invading Japanese Fleet during the Battle of Midway on 4 June 1942. Leading a determined attack against an enemy battleship, Major Norris, in the face of tremendous anti-aircraft fire and fierce fighter opposition, contributed to the infliction of severe damage upon the vessel. During the evening of the same day, despite exhaustive fatigue and unfavorable flying conditions, he led eleven planes from his squadron in a search-attack mission against a Japanese aircraft carrier reported burning about two hundred miles off Midway Islands. Since he failed to return with his squadron and is reported as missing in action, there can be no doubt, under conditions attendant to the Battle of Midway, that he gave up his life in the service of his country. His cool courage and inspiring devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
Action Date: 4-Jun-42
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Pilot Wings
Rifle Expert (Pre 1959)USMC Basic Qualification Badge

 Unit Assignments
MATSG-21, NAS Pensacola FLMarine BarracksMARTD, NAS NewYork, Brooklyn, NYVMSB-241
Missing In Action
  1928-1928, 7332, MATSG-21, NAS Pensacola FL
  1929-1931, 7332, Marine Barracks Quantico, VA
  1931-1940, 7332, MARTD, NAS NewYork, Brooklyn, NY
  1942-1942, 7332, VMSB-241
  1942-Present, 7598, Missing In Action
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1941-1941 World War II/American Theater
  1942-1942 Central Pacific Campaign (1941-43)/Battle of Midway
 Colleges Attended
Princeton University
  1924-1928, Princeton University
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