César Basa

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César Fernándo Basa
Lt. César Basa
Born 1915
Philippine Islands
Died December 12, 1941 (aged 25–26)
[Pampanga]], Commonwealth of the Philippines
Allegiance  Philippines
 United States of America
Service/branch Philippine Army Air Corps
Years of service 1941
Rank Army-USA-OF-01a.svg Lieutenant
Battles/wars World War II
Battle of the Philippines
Awards Silver Star Medal ribbon.svg  Silver Star

César Fernándo Basa (1915 – December 12, 1941) was a Filipino pilot and World War II hero. Born in 1915, he was one of the pioneer fighter pilots of the Philippine Air Force and the first Filipino fighter pilot casualty during World War II.


Basa's fight took place at Batangas Field on the morning of December 12, 1941 when 27 Japanese bombers and 17 fighter escorts raided the base.[1]

Five Filipino fighter pilots on Curtiss P-26A "Peashooter" fighter planes, led by Captain Jesús Villamor, engaged the numerically superior enemy in aerial combat at 12,000 feet (3,700 m).

Several dogfights ensued as Villamor and his men fought desperately to prevent the pack of bombers and their fighter escorts from reaching and bombing Batangas Field.

Lieutenant Basa, who was already two hours airborne on an air reconnaissance mission, rushed to the scene and attempted to join the aerial engagement with only 15 minutes worth of fuel left on his P-26. While still half the distance away, he was intercepted by seven Japanese fighters and shot down. Although he was able to bail out, he was strafed and killed by machine-gun fire from the A6M Zero fighters while dangling helplessly from his parachute. This made him the first Filipino fighter pilot casualty of war killed in air combat.

Captain Villamor and his pilots won the battle, with the only casualty being Basa. In recognition of his heroism, Lieutenant Basa was posthumously awarded the Silver Star.


Basa Air Base in Floridablanca, Pampanga, Philippines is named in his honor.


  1. ^ "Philippine Air Force History". Archived from the original on 2014-04-29.