Aggie Insights
    VOLUME 5 | ISSUE 2 February 2007     

In This Issue


Event Listings



USU Alumni Spotlight - Lieutenant Colonel Chase J. Nielsen

Lieutenant Colonel Chase J. Nielsen

There were many momentous events that took place during World War II: D-Day, the Battle of the Bulge, the Battle of Midway. But one event, perhaps not as well known, is the Doolittle Tokyo Raid. This raid made a significant impact on the morale of the American people after the attack on Pearl Harbor, and one Aggie was a part of it.

Retired Lieutenant Colonel Chase J. Nielsen was one of the 80 volunteers that took part in the Tokyo raid. Born in Hyrum, Utah, Lt. Col. Nielsen graduated from Utah State University in 1939 with a degree in Civil Engineering. That same year, he enlisted in the US Army Air Corps. Later, in 1941, he became a rated navigator.

A year later, Nielsen joined a group of volunteers, today known as the Doolittle Raiders, led by Lt. Col. James Doolittle for what would be an unprecedented attack on the Japanese homeland. Up until the raid, the Japanese believed their home soil invincible.

After months of training, Lt. Col. Nielsen and the rest of the Raiders, along with their B-25 Mitchell bombers, boarded the USS Hornet. Never before had bombers the size of the B-25 taken off from an aircraft carrier, but, at the time, this was the only way to get within striking distance.

On April 2, 1942, the Raiders set sail for Japan. The plan was to launch from 450 miles off the Japanese mainland, but when the Hornet was sighted by Japanese picket boats, the timetable was moved up. More than 600 miles out, Lt. Col. Nielsen and the rest of the Raiders prepared to take to the air on their one-way trip to Japan. The plan was to head for China after dropping their bombs.

After successfully launching all 16 bombers, the Raiders struck Tokyo. Though the damage to the city was relatively slight, the boost in morale for the American people, and subsequent devastation of Japanese morale, was invaluable.

Because of lack of fuel and bad weather, Lt. Col. Nielsen and his crew were forced to ditch their aircraft off the coast of China. Lt. Col. Nielsen survived the crash, but was taken prisoner by the Japanese. For the next 40 months, he was held as a prisoner of war in horrific conditions. Of the eight men that were taken prisoner with Lt. Col. Nielsen, only half survived their captivity.

Finally, on August 21, 1945, Lt. Col. Nielsen was released by an OSS rescue team and returned home to the U.S. A year later, he flew to China to testify in the International War Crimes Trials against those that had held him captive.

For his bravery and service, Lt. Col. Nielsen was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Purple Heart with Cluster, the Commendation Medal with Cluster, the Outstanding Unit Award, the Longevity Ribbon with four Clusters, and the Breast Order of Pao Ting from the People’s Republic of China.

Lt. Col. Nielsen returned to the U.S. after the trial and pursued his military career until he retired in 1961. He became an industrial engineer at Hill Air Force Base until retiring from that position in 1981.

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A Call for Nominations

The USU Alumni association is requesting name suggestions for our upcoming awards and programs. We are currently looking for nominations for Alumni Grand Marshal, Alumnus of the Year, and Vice President/President Elect to serve on the Alumni Association Executive Board. For more information contact the Alumni Office at 1-800-291-2586, or to submit a nomination Click Here. For consideration, please email nominations no later than Monday, February 26th.

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Founders Day 2007

This Years Founders Day will be held Friday, March 2nd from 6:00 - 9:30 p.m. in the Evan N. Stevenson Ballroom of the Taggart Student Center. For more details or to R.S.V.P. call (888) 653-6246.

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USU Joining the Fight Against Autism

ASSERT Program

Each year, more and more children are diagnosed with autism. In fact, autism is more common in children than pediatric cancer, diabetes, and AIDS combined.

Utah State University is doing something about this. The University’s Autism Support Services: Education, Research, and Training (ASSERT) program provides education and curriculum to school districts throughout Utah and the surrounding areas.

When it was begun in 2003, the program consisted of a 10-week summer course. Today, ASSERT is a state-of-the-art preschool program that serves as a model training classroom.

In addition to educating the educators, the ASSERT program works directly with autistic children ranging in age from three to five years. Each child receives personalized attention from his/her own personal instructor.

The families of autistic children also benefit from the program. ASSERT instructors provide training to family members on how to continue effectively teaching their child at home. The families also receive periodic visits from ASSERT members to check on progress.

Finally, undergraduate and graduate students benefit by having the opportunity to work in the ASSERT program. This type of hands-on, real-world experience teaching children with autism is incredibly valuable.

For more information on the ASSERT program, visit their website.

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Fisheries Program Ranked Among Nation's Best

The accolades continue to come for Utah State University.

The 2005 Faculty Scholarly Productivity Index ranks USU’s doctoral program in fisheries science and management among the top three programs in the nation.

Released in January 2007, the 2005 Index looks at a school’s faculty members, rating such things as number of articles and books published and number of awards won.

USU was ranked third on the list, tied with the University of Montana at Missoula. The University of Minnesota-Twin Cities was number two and the University of Washington earned the top spot.

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University Strengthens Relations with Dominican Republic

Dominican Republic Flag

Several years ago, USU entered into a landmark agreement with the Dominican Republic to bring Dominican students to Utah State. The results so far have been outstanding with over 30 of the Dominican students earning a 3.5 GPA or above. Seven of those students have a perfect 4.0.

In January, delegates from USU signed a new agreement that would see an additional 50 Dominican students studying at Utah State University in fall 2007. This new agreement would bring the total number of students from the Dominican Republic studying at USU to almost 100. The students are selected and sponsored by the Dominican Republic government.

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USU Speech and Debate Team Cleans Up at Tournament

The Utah State University Speech and Debate team won in a big way at its conference tournament at Pacific University in Oregon. Not only did the Aggies take home first place in the conference and its third consecutive conference title, they thoroughly dominated the field.

The 10 USU students that went to the tournament took home a total of 38 trophies. In all, USU took first, second, third, and fourth place in debate; first, second, third, fourth, and fifth place in informative speaking; and first and second place in both after-dinner speaking and impromptu speaking.

The team was also awarded the Quality Team Award, which goes to the team with the highest number of points per student.

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Back to the Buzzer


A group of Civil Engineering students in the 1950's proudly display their accomplishments.


Utah State University Alumni Relations sponsors many exciting events throughout the year. To keep informed about the most current ones, visit often.

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Read the Classnotes


Read the Obituaries

Chapter News

February 16
Salt Lake County Sweetheart Dinner at Archibald's Restaurant at Gardner Village

More information on pre-game parties is available at

For more information about alumni chapters and to find the chapter in your area, visit

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Aggie Volleyballers Digging for a Cure

The Utah State University women’s volleyball team and the American Cancer Society are teaming up to make a difference.

During the 2006 season, every dig the volleyball team made during a home match meant more money for breast cancer research. In all, the team raised over $600 through the “Dig 4 A Cure” program. The program works by collecting pledges for every dig made.

The USU volleyball team will continue its work to find a cure for breast cancer in 2007. If you’re interested in getting involved, contact the USU Volleyball Office at 435-797-2063. Mid-Season Ticket Includes Basketball Tournament


The Western Athletic Conference announced a new mid-season men’s and women’s basketball ticket for, the Internet-based video distribution system of the WAC. For the remaining men’s season, including the WAC tournament, it’s just $39.95 and for the remaining women’s season, including the WAC tournament, it is just $34.95.

For complete details, click here.

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Travel Opportunities

Costa Rica Discovery Vacation

Costa Rica

February 21 - 28, 2007
Costa Rica is a little of the Garden of Eden and Jurassic Park all rolled into one. It offers incredible beauty, black and white-sand beaches, volcanoes, rugged rivers and friendly people and all sorts of activities from bird watching, sightseeing of its pristine beauty, exciting adventure such as zip-line excursions through the jungle, whitewater rafting, volcano hiking and much more. Costa Rica is spectacularly beautiful and it offers the vacation experience of a lifetime.

For more information on upcoming alumni travel events, visit or call the Alumni Relations office at (435)797-2055.

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