Lt. Phil Rasmussen: Pearl Harbor Hero In Purple Pajamas

Took on the Japanese invasion single handed in an outdated fighter

When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941 Lt. Phil was in bed. Hearing the invasion sounds of Pearl being attacked, he jumped out of bed (still in purple pjs), strapped his Colt .45 around his waist and raced for his airplane. Finding most of the planes destroyed, he found a P-36 Hawk, had it loaded with ammo and gas. He found of flight of 11 Zeros and attacked. His .30 cal machine gun jammed and his .50 limited capacity, he still managed to shoot down a Mitsubishi A6M. Several Zeros attacked him (one tried to ram him) and his plane was severely damaged. Diving into some clouds, he managed to get his plane back to base with 500 bullet holes and no brakes, rudder, or tailwheel: purple pajamas and all. He was awarded the Silver Star for his Pajama themed heroism. Wright-Patterson AFB has a display dedicated to Lt. Phil Rasmssen. Valor seizes the opportunity.

Valor is in you. Set it free.

Back to blog |