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"Ole 98" Is Safe! Lt. Tom Harmon - Great on the Field, Heroic in Battle


On September 7, 2013, The University of Michigan football team [|unretired] the jersey of one of their greatest, All-American [|Tom Harmon]. Most Michigan fans know about his many exploits on the field that won him the Heisman Trophy. Fewer know that he served heroically in [|World War II.] On April 15, 1943, the story broke in the Ann Arbor News that [|his Army bomber plane went down] and he was Missing in Action. Harmon's ordeal dominated the front page of the News for much of April, as [|family, friends and fans] assured each other that "Ole 98" was tough enough to survive a crash and the jungles of South America. The Ann Arbor News wondered if the flight was his [|Last Play?]

Then, on April 17th, news came that Harmon [|was safe], having survived a solo, four-day ordeal in the jungle. His parents got the news just after returning from a mass in his honor at St. Mary's Student Chapel. An emotional Michigan coach, Fritz Crisler, and the city [|were overjoyed] at the news. Harmon was the only crew member [|to survive the crash.] He shared the story of the crash and his jungle odyssey in a [|column] released by the Army. The [|photo] that ran in the News on April 23 showed a worn and weary but thankful soldier. Harmon got right back into the fight and in October, 1943, he was shot down over China only to escape capture a second time. He was awarded the Purple Heart and Silver Star. Harmon [|died in 1990.]