Captain 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
The Norton Air Force Base in San Bernardino was named for him.
1 Norton, Mrs. Thomas F. in verbal testimony given to the author