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Cypress Lake Country Club honors former member, the WWII “Pajama Pilot” during Veterans Day Tribute and Bridge Dedication

On Veterans Day, Cypress Lake Country Club paid tribute to the late Lt. Philip Rasmussen, a former member and highly decorated war hero, best known as the WWII “Pajama Pilot.” During the ceremony, a bridge on the newly renovated golf course was dedicated in memory of Lt. Rasmussen and in honor of all veterans. Special guest General James Dozier, a retired three-star general, shared the story of Lt. Rasmussen, recognizing him and all those who served our country. At the close of the ceremony, more than 30 veterans crossed over the new bridge, dedicated in their honor.

Informally referred to as “the pajama pilot,” Lt. Rasmussen was a WWII pilot during the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. On the morning of Dec. 7, Lt. Rasmussen looked out the window of his barracks where he saw a group of Japanese airplanes dropping bombs in the field. He quickly strapped on his .45 caliber pistol to his pajamas and ran to get an airplane. While most of the planes were already destroyed, Lt. Rasmussen found a P-36 Hawk and took off. After engaging fire with Japanese military, Lt. Rasmussen managed to shoot down one of the planes before plunging through the clouds. After regaining control of the aircraft, he returned safely to Wheeler Field and landed without the brakes, rudder or tailwheel. The story is recounted in several WWII movies that depict the attack at Pearl Harbor. Lt. Rasmussen died in 2005, and is buried at Arlington Cemetery.

“At Cypress Lake Country Club, Lt. Rasmussen was better known for his beautiful paintings than his golf game, but most members were unaware that he was a decorated war hero,” said Scott Fischer, board president at Cypress Lake Country Club. “With the opening of our newly restored course coming up, the board and leadership at Cypress Lake Country Club wanted to take a moment to honor Lt. Rasmussen and to pay tribute to the men and women who have fought for our freedom.”

Located at 6767 Winkler Rd. in Fort Myers, Cypress Lake Country Club is Fort Myers’ oldest and most historic private golf club, boasting three PGA hall-of-fame golfers as founding members. Founded in 1959, the award-winning Cypress Lake Country Club is one of the few golf courses in Southwest Florida where walking is encouraged all year long, a feature that perfectly complements the unparalleled beauty of the course. Members enjoy access to golf and tennis, a fully stocked golf pro shop as well as social and dining experiences at the clubhouse. For more information, please call 239-481-1333 or visit www.cypresslakecc.com.

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