Private Dale M. Hansen, USMC, (1922-1945)

Dale Merlin Hansen was born on 13 December 1922 in Wisner, Nebraska. He graduated high school and worked on the family farm before enlisting in the U.S. Marine Corps from that state in May 1944. Completing recruit training at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot at San Diego, California, Hansen received infantry indoctrination and automatic weapons training at the Infantry Training Battalion at Camp Pendleton, California. In November 1944, he relocated to the Pacific war zone and joined Company E, Second Battalion, First Marines at Pavuvu, Russell Islands. After additional weapons training and operational maneuvers with First Marine Division at Banika Island and Guadalcanal in early 1945, he returned to Pavuvu.

In April 1945, Hansen landed with his company for combat against the Japanese on Okinawa Shima in the Ryukyu Chain. On 7 May, after destroying a strategic pillbox with a rocket launcher, his weapon was destroyed. Continuing his assault alone, he bravely destroyed a mortar position and twelve enemy soldiers during the course of battle. On 11 May, he was mortally wounded by enemy sniper fire. For his "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity" on this occasion, he posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. Dale M. Hansen is buried at Wisner Cemetery, Wisner, Nebraska.

This page features the only image we have concerning Dale M. Hansen.

Photo #: NH 106212

Private Dale M. Hansen, USMC

Halftone reproduction of a photograph, copied from the official publication "Medal of Honor, 1861-1949, The Navy", page 200.
Dale M. Hansen was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity" while serving with Company E, Second Battalion, First Marines, First Marine Division against the Japanese on Okinawa Shima in the Ryukyu Chain on 7 May 1945.

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph

Online Image: 78KB; 580 x 765 pixels


Medal of Honor citation of Private Dale M. Hansen, USMC (as printed in the official publication "Medal of Honor, 1861-1949, The Navy", page 200):

"For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with Company E, Second Battalion, First Marines, FIRST Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces on Okinawa Shima in the Ryukyu Chain, 7 May 1945. Cool and courageous in combat, Private Hansen unhesitatingly took the initiative during a critical stage of the action and, armed with a rocket launcher, crawled to an exposed position where he attacked and destroyed a strategically located hostile pillbox. With his weapon subsequently destroyed by enemy fire, he seized a rifle and continued his one-man assault. Reaching the crest of a ridge, he leaped across, opened fire on six Japanese and killed four before his rifle jammed. Attacked by the remaining two Japanese, he beat them off with the butt of his rifle and then climbed back to cover. Promptly returning with another weapon and supply of grenades, he fearlessly advanced, destroyed a strong mortar position and annihilated eight more of the enemy. In the forefront of battle throughout this bitterly waged engagement, Private Hansen, by his indomitable determination, bold tactics and complete disregard of all personal danger, contributed essentially to the success of his company's mission and to the ultimate capture of this fiercely defended outpost of the Japanese Empire. His great personal valor in the face of extreme peril reflects the highest credit upon himself and the United States Naval Service."

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