Book Review: Chippewa Chief in World War II

By Donald J. Norton
Foreword by Brigadier General Charles E. Yeager
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 207
2001
p ISBN: 978-0-7864-0994-5
e ISBN: 978-0-7864-5054-1
Imprint: McFarland
This is the true story of career naval aviator Oliver Bullard Rasmussen, an aircrewman who avoided capture after his plane crashed in Japan on July 14, 1945, leaving his pilot dead and him seriously wounded. He dodged the Japanese on Hokkaido for 68 days until he saw his first fellow American.
Rasmussen’s was duty began on patrol planes searching of U-boats in the Caribbean Sea. Later he transitioned to be the Curtiss SB2C dive bomber and gunner and radio operator, deploying to the Pacific onboard new aircraft carrier USS Shangri-La.
His experiences with the crash, his evading potential captors in Japan and his freedom after conclusion of hostilities. Having never been a prisoner of war, the US Navy didn’t seem to know what to do with him. He eventually returned to the US and resumed his career in naval aviation.
After the war, he resumed flight operations which included his top-secret role in the Navy’s only nuclear weapons squadron.
A lifetime heavy smoker, who believed aviators should never say “one last smoke” as it was considered bad luck against a safe return. Unfortunately, the smoking caused his death after retirement.
The book is a good read and gives a good sense of life as an enlisted naval aviator in the permanent navy.