One of the Doolittle raiders has passed on.

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by syscom3, Mar 26, 2007.

  1. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    Lt. Col. Chase Jay Nielsen 1917 ~ 2007 Lt. Col. Chase Jay Nielsen, age 90, of Brigham City, Utah passed away Friday, March 23, 2007 at his home in Brigham City. He was, a loving husband, father, grandfather, brother, and son. Col. Nielsen was born in Hyrum, Utah. He was the son of the late Floyd and Carrie Nielsen. He graduated from the grade and high schools in Hyrum and received a B.S. degree in Civil Engineering from Utah State University, Logan, Utah, 1939. He entered the United States Army Air Corps through the Flying Cadet Program in August, 1939. He completed pilot and aerial navigation training and was commissioned a second lieutenant in June, 1941. Col. Nielsen was the navigator of the sixth (of only 16) Army Air Corps B-25 bombers to take off from the aircraft carrier USS Hornet as part of the Doolittle Tokyo Raid, April 18, 1942. This was the first retaliatory strike against the Japanese homeland after Imperial Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor some four months earlier. After successfully bombing industrial targets in Tokyo, Col. Nielsen's Crew #6 guided their B-25 bomber west toward China, knowing full well they did not have enough fuel to reach a safe haven beyond the Japanese occupied China coastline. As anticipated, they ran out of fuel when they reached the coastline and were forced to make a crash landing in Japanese occupied waters. The bombardier and gunner on the Nielsen crew were killed when the B-25 crashed. Their remains were buried in a safe haven with the help of the local Chinese guerillas. After evading the Japanese for several days, Nielsen, his pilot and co-pilot, along with five members of another crew, were captured. The Japanese executed three of the men, the other five, including Nielsen, were held captive for 40 months. During the 40 month ordeal, one man died before they were rescued and came home. A week after the war in the Pacific ended, Nielsen and his surviving buddies were located and recovered by an OSS Parachute Rescue Team. In January 1946 Col. Nielsen returned to Shanghai, China where he participated in the International War Crime Trials. He provided much of the evidence that convicted four Japanese captors of inhumane treatment and murder. On return from the War Crime Trials and until March, 1949, Col. Nielsen spent much time in upgrade training. He then joined Strategic Air Command. He helped integrate "Fail Safe" and other emergency war order procedures. He helped SAC grow to be one of the most powerful forces in history. It's mission was to provide the United States long range combat capability. He logged most of his air time in B-29, B-50, B-36, and B-52 bombers. He retired from the U.S. Air Force 30 November, 1961. Col. Nielsen's peacetime overseas service included several tours to the South Pacific air bases and to England. His last tour was to Ramey AFB, Puerto Rico, where he served as squadron commander of maintenance of B-52 and KC-135 type aircraft. Col. Nielsen's decorations include the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal, Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster, Air Force Commendation with Oak Leaf Cluster, and the Republic of China with Breast Order of Pao Ting, and the Prisoner of War Medal. He was also inducted into the Utah Aviation Hall of Fame 30 May, 2002. Col. Nielsen married his first wife, Cleo McCrary, in the Logan Temple July 17, 1946. Surviving are their three children, Terry (Beverly) Logan, Utah, Gregory (Jeanne) Brigham City, Utah, Sherrie Wendel Brigham City, Utah. Cleo died 7 Feb, 1995. He then married Phyllis Henderson. She had three children from her first marriage, Roy (Patti) Henderson, Escondido, California, Pamela (Michael) Clark, Encinitas, California, and Douglas (Kim) Henderson, Kearns, Utah. Together they have 12 grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. Also surviving are two sisters, Coy Scharp, Kaysville, Utah, and Colleen (Art) Checketts, Ogden, Utah. Funeral services will be held 11 a.m. Wednesday, March 28, at the Allen_Hall Mortuary Chapel, 34 East Center Street in Logan. A viewing will be held from 6_8 p.m. Tuesday, March 27 at Allen Hall Mortuary and from 10-10:45 a.m. Wednesday prior to services. Interment will be in the Hyrum City Cemetery, Hyrum, Utah. Condolences and thoughts may be expressed to the family online at Allen Mortuaries "For death is no more than a turning of us over from time to eternity." -William Penn-

    The Salt Lake Tribune Obituary Notices
     
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