In the summer of 2012, Mayor Jim Broich received a call from a research volunteer for www.oneternalpatrol.com hoping someone in Sleepy Eye had information and a picture of Fireman, First Class, Robert Rasmussen, Jr. to update a memorial on his behalf.
Broich and Rasmussen went hunting together and were acquaintances while attending St. Mary's High School. However, Jim Baldwin, the research assistant, did not have that knowledge. He initially called Mayor Broich because Rasmussen was last known to be from Sleepy Eye and Baldwin thought a good place to start looking for information would be with the mayor.
Broich and Rasmussen hunted together as young men and then corresponded by mail once Rasmussen went into the service. Broich still has the last post card he ever received from Rasmussen.
Mayor Broich recalled that Rasmussen left high school early to enlist in the military. He went to submarine school and earned his Navy Dolphins.
According to the memorial website, while on her 8th war patrol, the USS Scamp (SS-277) was attacked and sunk by a mine off Inubo Saki near Tokyo Bay with "all hands lost."
The USS Scamp and her crew now lie asleep in the deep. They are officially listed as On Eternal Patrol.
Of the 83 crewmen lost that day, seven remain "lost from our view." Rasmussen was among those lost from view until recently.
Maureen Sturtevant, a niece of Rasmussen's, recently contacted Baldwin and submitted pictures, medals and other information to complete the online memorial on Rasmussen's behalf.
Darla Gebhard provided this information about Rasmussen. He was born on Aug. 19, 1925 in Sleepy Eye. He enlisted in the Navy and when the Scamp was attacked it sunk and the crew perished on Nov. 16, 1944.
Rasmussen was decorated with a Purple Heart.
Mayor Broich said while the information he recalled of Rasmussen was not helpful in fulfilling the task of updating information for the memorial, he told Baldwin the Servicemen's Club recognizes Rasmussen as a World War II Veteran.
Which is why Mayor Broich is now in possession of the decorations and various photographs.
Baldwin, who initially started the search for information with Mayor Broich, recently sent him the memorabilia.
Mayor Broich has had conversations with the Servicemen's Club who has indicated interest in displaying the items of a Sleepy Eye lost sailor.
"I think this is great!" Mayor Broich said of the memorabilia. "Bob's memory will live on."
The Rasmussen family lived at 416 W. Main Street, west of the Freedom station. Robert's father was Robert Charles Rasmussen who was born in 1891. His mother was Lucy (Youngman) Rasmussen (1901-1932). Robert also had an older sister, Irene.
Page 2 of 2 - At this time, Mayor Broich said, plans are indefinite as how the articles will be preserved, but at least they are back in Sleepy Eye where Rasmussen's life began.
A fitting end to a life that began in Sleepy Eye and will forever remain On Eternal Patrol.