Col. Bass volunteered for the US Army Air Forces as an aviation Cadet in September, 1941 and was commissioned a 2nd LT., and awarded pilots wings in April, 1942. During World War II, he flew two combat tours: in French Morocco, Tunisia, Pantelleria, and Sicily in Curtiss P-40 aircraft, and France and Germany in Republic P-47 aircraft, completing 114 combat missions.
Following the war, he returned to college and later was an instructor at Castle Heights Military Academy. Recalled to active duty in 1951, he served in the United States, Korea, Japan, France, England and South Vietnam. He was squadron commander of North American F-100 equipped squadrons at Cannon AFB, Clovis, NM, at Chaumont Air Base, France and RAF Lakenheath, England.
He served as Base Commander at RAF Bentwaters/Woodbridge Air Bases, England, and Cam Ranh Bay Air Base, Republic of Vietnam. Following a tour of duty as Director, United States Air Force Museum, Wright-Patterson AFB, OH, he retired on Nov. 1, 1976 with 30 years, five months active duty service to his country.
Awards and decorations include Legion of Merit with one Oak Leaf Cluster, Distinguished Flying Cross with one Oak Leaf Cluster, and Air Medal with 13 Oak Leaf Clusters.
In retirement, he returned to Castle Heights Military Academy as an instructor. Colonel Bass was a member of First Presbyterian Church, Lebanon, and served as Deacon, Elder, Sunday School leader and teacher.
He was a former Trustee of Cumberland University, and Chairman, Wilson County Library Board, member of the Order of Daedalians, P-40 Warhawk Pilots Association, P-47 Thunderbolt Pilots Association, American Legion, VFW, Charter member of the Air Force Association, and a Rotarian. He was an honorary member of the Noncommissioned Officers Association of America, and of the Ohio Chapter POW/MIA.
Col. Bass is survived by children, Ronald Dennis Bass, Washington, DC; Cara Bass (Robert) Chipkevich of Lebanon and Mark Duncan (Ronda) Bass, St. Charles, MO.
Also surviving are grandchildren Benjamin (Mindy) Chipkevich of Memphis, Mary Ann Chipkevich of Lebanon, Stephanie Bass of St. Charles, MO and Sgt. Scott Duncan Bass, U.S. Army, stationed in Afghanistan; brother James (Erma) Bass of Carthage; and numerous nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death on Dec. 23, 2008 by his beloved wife of 63 years, Mary Helen Whitfield Bass; by his father in 1953; mother in 1988; brother Paul in 1964; and infant sister Cara Duncan in 1925.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to First Presbyterian Church, the New Middleton United Methodist Church, or a charity of your choice.
Active pallbearers: Benjamin Chipkevich, James Robert Bass, Paul Daniel Bass, David Bass, William Bass, Gordon Bone and Jerry Hunt. Honorary: Sgt. Scott Bass, Teamon Agee, Rodney Ahles, Robert C. Bone, Stratton Bone, Betty Clay, Carol Dedman, James L. Fletcher, George Harding, Glen C. Holder, Jack Howard, Stephen J. King, J.B. Leftwich, Herb Simmons, John E. Stephens along with the Ruling Elders of First Presbyterian Church.
Arrangements by Bass Funeral Home, Carthage.